Monday, September 24, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No, Coastal Living did not name Clearwater Beach #1 in US

City officials celebrated in February when TripAdvisor named Clearwater Beach the best beach in the U.S. for 2018, a coveted title it also won in 2016.

But on Monday, they got a little carried away with it.

The City of Clearwater Government's Facebook page boasted that "#ClearwaterBeach was named the #1 beach in the United States by Coastal Living," sharing a recent story by the magazine.

But with just a quick read of the article … nope, Coastal Living gave out no such award.

The magazine was actually just reporting about TripAdvisor's recent rankings. Coastal Living representatives could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

But the story's lede makes it clear enough:

"If you're looking for an incredible beach vacation, Florida has no shortage of spectacular sandy oases," the article states. "But one Tampa Bay beach can boast of a new accolade: Best Beach in the United States, ACCORDING TO TRIPADVISOR'S 2018 TRAVELERS' CHOICE AWARDS.

(emphasis mine)

To be fair, Clearwater was sharing a post from Visit Florida from an hour earlier which also shared the Coastal Living article with the comment "And the winner is…"

But the Visit Florida account did not say Coastal Living gave out its own award.

Communications Director Joelle Castelli chalked the false claim up to someone in the communications department reading the story incorrectly and pulling the trigger too early before posting. (she declined to give a name).

Her staff edited the post two hours later, when a reporter inquired, with a new comment: "Thank you Coastal Living for highlighting that #ClearwaterBeach was recently named the #1 Beach in the United States by TripAdvisor."

She didn't sweat it.

"It was our error," Castelli said. "But that's ok. We're still number one by TripAdvisor."

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