Digest>Archives> July 2008

Wickie's Wisdom - A Journalistic Coup

By Timothy Harrison


Last month Lighthouse Digest scored a journalistic coup with our exclusive story, by Colleen MacNeney, about a lighthouse that everyone thought had been destroyed and was in fact still standing an amazing 3,000 miles away from its original location.

We are proud of the fact that Lighthouse Digest was the first publication in the world to report the story about Mayos Beach and Point Montara Lighthouses. We were also honored as the phone rang off the hook after the June issue came out as reporters from all over the nation called. And before anyone could bat an eye, AP, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News and others picked up the story and the story went worldwide. This was indeed great news for lighthouse community, because it gave a boost in drawing public attention to our historic lighthouses and the rich history associated with them.

Until now, every lighthouse book and every lighthouse web site said the Mayos Beach Lighthouse had been demolished. Even the folks at Point Montara Lighthouse were surprised to find out that their lighthouse on the coast of California once stood on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. History had indeed been rediscovered.

Some of the comments on various blogs and even some of the news stories spoke of how they couldn't understand how no one knew about this lighthouse being moved from Massachusetts to California until now. Some even claimed it was a mystery solved, which we couldn't understand, since there was no mystery in the first place. To put it very simply, it was really history that was always there and was just now being rediscovered. This is not something new to lighthouse historians, as important facts, documents and photographs and stories continue to surface and are being rediscovered all time.

Many times over the years, I have written about this in editorial comments about why a magazine like Lighthouse Digest is important and why we need constant help in rediscovering this history so that it can be told and saved for future generations. I have always stressed that the more people who we can get interested in lighthouses and their history, the more that lighthouse history will continue to be rediscovered and saved.

Over the years we, here, at Lighthouse Digest have become associated with so many good people, from all walks of life, from all parts of the globe, who have uncovered and reported on lighthouse history and shared it with us, so we can share it with others through the pages of this magazine. And we're honored to have shared many years of friendship with Floridians, Bob and Sandra Shanklin, "The Lighthouse People," who have dedicated their lives to helping save lighthouse history. They, as well as we, are proud that their daughter Colleen MacNeney has followed in their footsteps.

Researching lighthouse history is time consuming, can be expensive, and takes a sincere amount of dedication. But, it is also important to remember that the general media can not take the time to do the research and rediscover the history, but dedicated lighthouse people and other historians such as those associated with the lighthouse community will. For example, the historic photos of the Mayos Beach lighthouse keeper and his wife that appeared on page 29 of last month's issue were located and given to us some months ago by our good friend, Judi Kearney. However, we held the photos until the appropriate time, when a story could be researched and published.

However, none of this would be possible without the loyal subscribers to Lighthouse Digest who help pay the bills so that we can keep researching, documenting, saving, recording and publishing yesteryear's lighthouse history, while also reporting on today's history in the making, and, for that, we sincerely thank you.

This story appeared in the July 2008 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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