Onward and upward: The Observer's 'real news' guarantee

Politicians and newspapers have different roles to play, but we can work side by side to make the community a better place.

Photo by Maureen Walsh
Photo by Maureen Walsh
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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City Councilman Ed Danko and mayoral candidate Alan Lowe are fond of the phrase “fake news” and have been using it lately to describe the Palm Coast Observer.

News Editor Jonathan Simmons and I dedicate our entire week to ensure that everything you read in the Observer is factual. Before publishing sensitive political stories, Simmons and I try to anticipate possible reactions, double check our facts, and make sure we give everyone fair treatment. If, after investigating, we decide that a news tip is purely sensational, or is based on a flimsy accusation, we don't write the story.

Not long ago, in an amicable YouTube interview in April, Danko assured me that when he uses the term “fake news,” he’s talking about national media, not the Observer. “Your paper does an excellent job,” he said. “You report the facts. You don’t editorialize.”

Apparently, though, he changed his mind, after the Observer reported about a city investigation into Danko’s interactions with city staff. Danko now says we're “fake.” And yet, our story simply explains the investigation and gives plenty of space for Danko to respond.

That might be uncomfortable news, but it is not fake news.

I understand that people get upset when Publisher John Walsh endorses candidates they oppose. We trust that readers will consider his endorsement as but one tool in their decision-making process; your vote, of course, is yours.

Beginning with last year's 2020 election, I no longer have any role in the endorsement process, and neither does Simmons.

My promise to Danko, Lowe and the rest of the community is that if I am ever informed of an error in a story, I will take full responsibility and will immediately correct it. It is essential that our community can trust its news source, so we have followed these same standards since our first edition, in 2010.

With that said, let’s move on. I have no ill feelings toward Danko or Lowe. Their letters to the editor and insights are welcome, as always, on our website and on our print pages. Politicians and newspapers have different roles to play, but we can work side by side to make the community a better place.



Brian McMillan

Brian McMillan and his wife, Hailey, bought the Observer in 2023. Before taking on his role as publisher, Brian was the editor from 2010 to 2022, winning numerous awards for his column writing, photography and journalism, from the Florida Press Association.

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