Watermark is thrilled to have Billy Manes as our new editor. I agree with East Orlando Post writer Jacob Engels that Manes’ writing is “daring and refreshing.” I hope readers are enjoying his unique take on the vibrant LGBT communities in Orlando and Tampa Bay.
But little else in Engels’ mostly unattributed story is true. (“Billy Manes ‘Saves’ Watermark, Ad Revenue & Readership Skyrocket,” Oct. 13.) His claim that Manes ‘literally saved Watermark from going out of business’ makes for good reading, but it has no basis in truth. And it’s an insult to our 12 talented and hard-working full-time staff members, as well as our numerous freelance contributors.
The last several years have been Watermark’s most lucrative since the great recession. The company recorded profits in 2013 and 2014, and we’re on track to do the same this year. Our credit is impeccable, and we own valuable assets in receivables and real estate.
As to Engels’ claim that Watermark has seen a ‘significant increase in revenue’ since we hired Manes, this is also not true. Manes was hired in June. As talented as he is, he did not single-handedly catapult us past our slowest season for advertising revenue—the summer months.
Engels made no effort to contact me or publisher Rick Claggett to respond to his unfounded claims of Watermark’s pending financial demise. Instead, he relied solely on an unnamed ‘friend I’ve known since high school that is plugged into the heartbeat of the publication.’
Engels’ journalism standards speak for themselves. Manes’ hiring at Watermark is exciting news for readers in Central and West Florida. The rest of Engels’ story is a fantasy.
Tom Dyer, Watermark founder and owner