Friday, October 1, 1999
Aloha to a great newspaper
Star-Bulletin closing after 117 years
Time and distance bring perspective from former competitorWhen I heard that the Honolulu Star-Bulletin was closing, I had the same feeling you get when a loved one who has been sick for a long time finally dies. No matter how much you think you are prepared for their departure, it is still very hard to take when the end finally comes.
About a year ago, veteran Hawaii journalist Bob Dye told me he expected the Star-Bulletin to be gone within 18 months. I didn't believe him, although I knew the end would eventually, someday, come. Bob is a savvy guy who knows Hawaii well. Little did I know how well.
I have a special appreciation for the Star-Bulletin since I competed against you and your staff during the three years I was executive editor of The Honolulu Advertiser. I've seen firsthand what your staff can do, and I've seen it for the past three years from afar.
When I was running the newsroom of The Advertiser, I was always hoping that perhaps the Star-Bulletin would fold so I could get more reporters and other staffers to help make my newspaper better. That was a selfish and self-centered attitude, of course, since Hawaii will be far worse off with the Star-Bulletin gone.
Last year, I got together with my old boss, former Advertiser Editor Gerry Keir. Both of us agreed that we had a greater appreciation for the Star-Bulletin after having left the Advertiser. I was especially surprised to hear that comment from Gerry, given that he fought the good fight against the Bulletin for more than 25 years.
But both of us are journalists at heart, and both of us were able to look at the Star-Bulletin much more clearly after we left the Advertiser and put the competitive juices aside. It's a simple fact that anyone who reads the newspaper can see: Day in and day out, the Star Bulletin does a great job covering Hawaii.
The publication of "Broken Trust," for example, clearly helped the community by focusing the spotlight on the Bishop Estate. If the Star-Bulletin had been closed, there probably would not have been a "Broken Trust," and perhaps the long-needed examination of the Bishop Estate and its trustees would have never happened.
I, for one, will miss reading the Star-Bulletin online, and keeping up with what is going on in a place I once called home. I'll miss Dave Shapiro's columns and the special investigative reports, the editorial pages and coverage of the 'Bows. I'll miss everything about the Star-Bulletin, and feel badly that I once selfishly wished that it would go away.
There will come a day when even Ben Cayetano and foolish old Frank Fasi figure out what anyone with half a brain can already see: that Hawaii will be worse off without the Star-Bulletin around to help it take a better look at itself.
Reading afternoon paper was best part of dayI am a student at Waianae High School and, all my life, I have been reading only one newspaper. Can you guess which one? That's right, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Now that it is coming to a devastating end, I don't know what other paper I will read after school.
The Star-Bulletin got me through the day. Even though it had less circulation than before, there were still people buying and reading it.
I just want to say to all of your staffers, mahalo and aloha for the good times. I know in my heart that the Bulletin will be back!
Life isn't fair and neither is closingI am shocked, sad and angry at the closing of the Star-Bulletin, one of the most outstanding newspapers in the United States.
I am reminded how, when my daughter was 5 years old, she cried, "It's not fair!" She was right but I had to respond, "Whoever told you life was fair?"
Thank you, Star-Bulletin, from the editors to the delivery kids, for all you have done for Hawaii.
C. Richard Fassler
Ad buyer, reader, former staffer says goodbyeAs an alumnus of the Star-Bulletin (1939-1941), an ad buyer for my advertising agency clients for more than 40 years, and as a Star-Bulletin reader for even longer, mahalo for a great job over all those years, and a heartfelt aloha nui. It's sad.