Mailbag: Moving lifeguard coverage shows local reporting at its best

Thanks to the staff of the Daily Pilot for the outstanding coverage of the tragic death of Newport Beach lifeguard Ben Carlson.

More than a week has passed since he died trying to rescue a swimmer who had become distressed during particularly strong seas along our coast. In that interim the Daily Pilot staff — the writers, photographers and editors — have done an amazing job of covering this awful event.

Critics on both sides of political issues frequently criticize the Daily Pilot — and almost every other media outlet, for that matter — when articles and commentaries don’t agree with their views. The folks at the Daily Pilot who try to provide us with accurate, timely information about events that affect our communities will always battle that perception of being biased.

The Carlson story demonstrates, in my view, the very best kind of local reporting. The words and images have been presented with care, compassion and skill at a time when so many in this community — and in our public safety organizations in particular — were feeling the tremendous pain of losing the first lifeguard in an on-duty event in more than a century.

I read the Daily Pilot for local news coverage, to see and hear what my friends and neighbors are doing and how our governments are functioning. Or, in some cases, not functioning. I’m grateful to the editors and staff for that coverage. I admire the skill and tenacity it takes to do that job well.

For more than 100 years, the Daily Pilot and its predecessors have given us excellent local coverage of important events. The way they’ve presented the Carlson story makes me proud of them.

Geoff West

Costa Mesa


Carlson represented the best of us

On a beautiful day, Newport Beach suffered the loss of one of its own.

Our own experienced lifeguard, Ben Carlson, died in the line of duty when he was slammed by a big wave. Everyone I know feels this terrible loss. Ben wasn’t just anybody. He was our brother, our son, our grandson, our friend. The pictures show a glowing healthy young man in the prime of his life who just seemed to be the best of us. This is why I believe that we have all been hit so hard by this.

We need lifeguards to assist us in dealing with our greatest asset — our glorious beaches. We know the ocean and Mother Nature cannot be trusted, and now that she has taken our Ben, we know this even better. Despite this we are shaken beyond belief.

Rest in peace, our beautiful boy.

Nancy Lynn Beck

Newport Beach