Moderator announced; bounced for Trayvon Martin forum in Daytona Beach

Claudette McFadden / moderator Trayvon Martin Forum / Headline SurferHenry Frederick / internet newspaper publisher / Headline SurferPhoto at far left courtesy Daytona Times /
Claudette McFadden, associate provost in the office of the president of Bethune-Cookman University, has been named moderator of the 6:30 p.m. Trayvon Martin Forum, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Henry Frederick, publisher of Headline Surfer, the 24/7 internet newspaper, was initially named moderator in a press release issued Tuesday night by the Rev. L. Ronald Durham, but informed Wednesday night by phone he was no longer needed.

DAYTONA BEACH -- At 11:18 p.m. Tuesday, the Rev. L. Ronald Durham sent out a press release to local media outlets announcing members of the panel to serve on the Trayvon Martin Community forum announced for 6:30 tonight would include Mayor Derrick Henry, Chief of Police Michael Chitwood, NAACP President Cynthia Slater, NAACP member Thaddeus Collins, Daytona Times Writer James Harper and Durham himself, president of Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance.

Henry Frederick, publisher of Headline Surfer, the 24/7 internet newspaper, was announced in the press release as "the impartial moderator." But at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Durham called Frederick and told him there had been some "resistance" and he was sorry to inform him there was a change of plans and he was no longer the moderator, but still welcomed to report on the event.

Henry Frederick, publisher of Headline Surfer, the 24/7 internet newspaper, was announced in the press release as "the impartial moderator." But at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Durham called Frederick and told him there had been some "resistance" and he was sorry to inform him there was a change of plans and he was no longer the moderator, but still welcomed to report on the event.

Durham said he would announce a new moderator in an upcoming press release.

When asked where the resistance was coning from, Durham declined to elaborate. When asked specifically if it had come from Chitwood or those supportive of the police chief, Durham said he would not comment. He said he would issue a press release later in the evening Wednesday.

James Harper announcing Trayvon Martin Forum / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer snapshot / James Harper, a reporter for the Daytona Times, announces his selection to the Trayvon Martin Fourum on his Facebook page. He copied the information from a press release sent out to media outlets Tuesday night by the Rev. L. Ronald Durham where Headline Surfer Publisher Henry Frederick is referenced as being the 'impartial moderator.'

Headline Surfer never received the subsequent press release, but just before midnight Wednesday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal posted a short story online announcing McFadden as the moderator. No mention was made that Frederick had previously been named moderator.

Frederick was employed by the Daytona Beach News-Journal as a metro reporter covering cops and courts from 1996 to 2004. Among his award-winning stories related to the police and courts was his coverage (and witnessing) of the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, the civil trial by Dale Earnhardt's widow to keep his autopsy files sealed after his Daytona 500 crash death and the trial that followed the church day-care van death of African-American toddler Zaniyah Hinson.

Frederick also received journalism honors there for his breaking news story on the Stanley Quaggin fatal shooting of a boy that led to greater public awareness of the Castle Doctrine, the pre-cursor to Stand Your Ground. He also won the coveted James K. Batten Award in 1998 for his weeklong investigative series on life in impoverished Spring Hill, the predominantly African-American community near the City of DeLand that hearkens back to Reconstruction.

Frederick won more journalism awards in his 8 1/2 years with the Daytona print newspaper than all other reporters combined in that time.

Headline Surfer video / The Rev. L. Ronald Durham speaks at a rally Saturday in front of the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach in opposition to the Stand Your Ground law.

Mayor Derrick Henry told Headline Surfer he was unaware of the latest developments in the moderator situation, adding he was "surprised," especially since Frederick had covered the Zimmerman trial, but said since it was not his event, there was nothing he could do about it except to say he would speak with Durham.

Chitwood could not be reached for comment, but has repeatedly refused to take Frederick's calls or answer his emails in the past. Chitwood even had Frederick removed from his police department's email press release distribution list last fall after Frederick won two awards of his four awards from the Florida Press Club for his May 14, 2012 investigative story: Daytona police chief promotes patrol supervisor who taunted female cop for more than a year.

The investigative story, recognized as an award-winner by the Florida Press Club under the categories of "general news writing" and "public safety reporting" was among five stories, three blogs and the internet website itself that garnered Frederick four overall awards, tops among reporters in the statewide journalism contest last year.

Frederick's story on Chitwood's promotion of patrol supervisor Jim Newcomb through examination of internal affairs reports and extensive interviews with other cops, demonstrated that the police chief ignored Newcomb's longstanding history of alleged sexual harassment of women police officers under his command, including one who lost her job, only to be re-hired two years later with no questions asked.

When Frederick showed up at a subsequent City Commission meeting to address the elected officials about being cut off from the press releases, he was informed beforehand privately by Susan Cerbone, the city's public information officer and Chitwood's girlfriend, that his name had been restored to the list. Frederick, nonetheless, made his complaint under citizen's participation.

The City Commission took no action. A week later, Chitwood's PIO informed media outlets on the email press release distribution list that it was being discontinued and they could check for news releases on the DBPD's website. 

Since then, every call made by Frederick to Chief Chitwood's office and that of the PIO have gone to voice mail with no call backs.

On May 30, Frederick was issued a trespass warning by the Daytona Beach Police Department while standing on a public sidewalk in front of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church where the Volusia League of Cities was holding its annual awards dinner in a rear dining hall.

The league didn't want Frederick reporting on embattled New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, winner of its "top award for excellence" despite the fact he's facing multiple complaints with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Even though Frederick informed the league and a Daytona cop he would not step foot on the private property, two hours later he was issued the trespass warning anyway. And during the nearly three hours of the event, the police force had as many as three cops watching Frederick.

Members of the Volusia County Council were so incensed about the league barring Frederick, a member of the working press, that they had County Chair Jason Davis write a letter to the league's director, informing her that the council's stance is that any organization that accepts taxpayer money from county government cannot turn away media.

Headline Surfer video / Some 200 citizens march in Daytona Bech near the campus of Betrhune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach last week. The 24/7 internet newspaper was the lone media outlet to report it.

Frederick was the lone media representative from Volusia County to cover the George Zimmerman trial from the Seminole Country Criminal Justice Center in Sanford. He also covered the pre-trials. His media outlet, Headline Surfer, is one of only three to win a journalism award in 2012 for coverage of the Trayvon Martin slaying. The other two were the Orlando Sentinel and the Huffington Post.

Frederick has secured publishing rights for an 840-page hardcover book on the Zimmerman trial, "Creepy Ass Cracker," which will be available in bookstores in mid-October.

Frederick has secured publishing rights for an 840-page hardcover book on the Zimmerman trial, "Creepy Ass Cracker," which will be available in bookstores in mid-October.

Frederick moderated 15 public candidate debates in Volusia County in 2012 leading up to the November elections. Next month, he's moderating a community forum in Oak Hill on the feasibility of an aerospace launch facility proposed at the nearby Shiloh sanctuary.

Sera King Picture

Short Bio

Sera King is multimedia editor for Headline Surfer®, accessed via HeadlineSurfer.com. She graduated magna cum laude from Ana G. Mendez University System of Puerto Rico (Orlando campus) with a bachelor's degree in business administration and a major in computer information systems. She has previously worked in office/bookkeeping and merchandising. She lives in Sanford with her husband, Henry Frederick, publisher of the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet serving greater Daytona Beach-Orlando since 2008.