Amid Flagler County changes the past 40 years, guns remain a problem, says WESH’s Claire Metz

metz tiger bay
Metz said she considers herself lucky to have been able to tell Flagler residents’ stories.

December is a time of reflection and taking stock, and few people chronicled Flagler County the past 40 years like Claire Metz of television affiliate station WESH. 

“I could go on and tell you a lot about Claire, but it’s like everybody kind of knows her very well,” said Greg Davis, President of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club.

Metz shared her perspective to the members of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club at their recent holiday celebration.

“Right off the bat, you’ve got your facts wrong,” Metz said of Davis, who introduced her by saying she would talk about how Florida’s political world shapes up coming out of the Midterms and going into 2024. 

“I ain’t talking politics. That’s not my game — not having anything to do with it. We are trained from the beginning, you are right down the middle, you don’t have an opinion. In fact, once I’m done with this (job) — sooner rather than later — I will probably still not have a good opinion (on politics).”

However, one topic gets a pass on that policy — gun issues. Asked about it by one of the club members, Metz said it’s a serious problem that needs addressing.

“That’s not political, I think it’s ridiculous,” Metz said of young people and gun crime. “It’s frightening — it’s truly frightening that the juvenile population is so jeopardized, I think, by gun violence. Think about it. We just did a story — I think it was nationally but we know Florida has our issues — juveniles are more likely to die by gun violence than in a car crash. 

“Remember, that’s what we used to worry about back in the day, kids killing themselves in cars. Sixteen-year-old drivers. So, I think it’s very frightening, and I think any logical person, no matter what persuasion, it doesn’t matter, would worry about guns getting in the hands of juveniles.”

She said there’s been some progress on that front in the area, like with the opening of a juvenile assessment center in Volusia County, and the work of some outspoken local leaders who are impressing upon parents their responsibility in the matter.

Florida is a state of swift changes, and Metz has uniquely been able to stay and tell the stories of Flagler County as it’s grown.

“What I am familiar with is being in this community for as long as I freaking have been,” Metz said. “A long time.”

She began work at WESH in the early 1980s, when it was easier for someone to break into small-market television news without a lot of internship experience or specific schooling in broadcast journalism.

“Television is based on markets, and I think right now, the market we’re in is (No. 17), and when I started Channel 2, it was market, maybe, 50,” Metz said. “So, now we’ve grown into this big, hot-shot place, and I’m still there.” 

Reporters tend to jump from place to place, for different reasons, and it can be tough to stay in one place and build the sort of trust among people they want from people reporting the news. So Metz said she considers herself lucky to have been able to tell Flagler residents’ stories over the years.

Part of it is common courtesy in dealing with the public, and part of it is the not-so-small task of just being there and caring about what the person across from you is saying.

“When I go somewhere, people are very kind to me,” Metz said. “They talk to me when they might not talk to someone else, and that’s a nice thing.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


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