We've been in touch with various tourism industry connections in coastal destinations concerned with the oil spill. They've told us they want to give visitors the straight scoop — good or bad — about the state of their beaches. And they've promised to do so via web updates, timely photos, and even some live web cams.
VisitFlorida.com has links to more than 100 local Florida destination websites, many of which are posting frequent updates and pics. While we realize that tourism sources have a vested interest in mind (keeping you and your dollars coming back) and may feel some pressure not to report any tarballs, we're still grateful for another layer of information to supplement the reporting we get from the news.
Even when there's no real news (and in this case, no news is good news), it's reassuring to see evidence of beaches that are still clean. I found great comfort in seeing still-blue waves on the live web cams showing the coast in Destin and Fort Walton, my former hometown.
And when there is news, I often turn to the website of the newspaper closest to the source. NOLA.com is where I go to find the reporting from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a great staff that won a Pulitzer for their Katrina coverage. (Disclosure: I worked there briefly, years ago.) They've posted a great infographic, that explains how BP is attempting to stem the flow, an animated graphic that shows the spread of the oil, a live video feed of the spill at the source, and daily news reports.
The Times-Picayune is also feeding the Save the Gulf Facebook page, a collaboration between several newspapers (Mobile Press Register, The Mississippi Press, The Birmingham News, and the Huntsville Times) and online news sites (AL.com, Gulflive.com, and Nola.com).
Where do you go for your news? Feel free to post updates in comments here, or on the Southern Living Facebook page. If you want to post a photo for others to see, visit the Share a Little Sunshine Facebook page, which will automatically your pic on VisitFloridaLive.com.
Photo: Grayton Beach, taken 6/7/10. Courtesy VisitFloridaLive on Flickr.