S-B online edition celebrates 10 years
The state's first daily newspaper to go on the Web has kept expatriates in touch with Hawaii
The online edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin marked its 10th anniversary yesterday.
The Star-Bulletin was the first daily newspaper in Hawaii to go online, which it did March 18, 1996.
As with most online presences still around from those days, starbulletin.com has come a long, long way.
The welcome to readers was written by then-Editor and Publisher John Flanagan.
"Welcome to our first day of publication on the World Wide Web," he wrote. "In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to add new features to make this electronic edition more useful and interesting."
Most of the local stories appeared in the online edition, but online readers were referred to the print edition for other content. The online edition now carries more stories and more and larger images. It often includes extra photos the print edition didn't have room for, is quicker to navigate and is advertising-supported.
The decision to publish an online edition was made by Flanagan and then-Managing Editor David Shapiro.
"It was obvious the Internet was going to have a huge impact on the news business," Shapiro said. "We weren't sure what it was, (going to be), but we knew there was something out there and we thought we'd better get on top of it before somebody else came in and stole our business from us."
The Star-Bulletin would invest in one employee and an Internet Service Provider account.
Blaine Fergerstrom, who was creating Web sites for clients of Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising Inc., where he worked, was recruited by the Star-Bulletin.
"You're going to put the Star-Bulletin online?" Fergerstrom remembers asking Flanagan. "Holy smokes!" Fergerstrom said. "Let me think about that for half-a-second."
The Web was fairly new to businesses at that time, and "I was one of the few guys locally that had actually made business Web sites -- and having a long history of loving printing and publishing, I instantly recognized that this was the biggest thing I'd ever heard of," he said.
He started his job March 4, 1996, "and March 18 we went live."
The paper received nothing but positive response from readers, Flanagan said, and readership of the paper online by expatriates has grown along with the brain drain.
"StarBulletin.com is always the first news site I look at when I need to get up to speed on Hawaii news," said Keith Kamisugi, a public relations professional who now lives in San Francisco.
"The site is easy to use and loads quickly. And I often get breaking news from the starbulletin.com news alerts before hearing about it anywhere else!"
There were industrywide fears that putting newspapers online would decimate paid circulation, but it "proved not to be true," said Shapiro, who has a weekly column in the Honolulu Advertiser. He had worked for the Star-Bulletin for 33 years prior to taking disability retirement before the papers' split.
The Advertiser did not publish online until after the Star-Bulletin's former owner announced plans to shut down the paper in 1999.
In June 2003, the daily starbulletin.com started being posted in the wee hours of the morning, meaning then-Webmaster Ken Andrade and other Web staff, including Steven Park, worked overnights.
Andrade is now business editor and Fergerstrom is back as Webmaster after a four-year stint as education webmaster at Kamehameha Schools.
The site has won several accolades. It was one of three finalists, among major market newspapers, in the "Editor & Publisher" EPpy awards in 1998; it was honored for excellence by the Hawaii Publishers Association in 2000, and in 2001 it was awarded first place in the Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism Best of the West competition.
Anniversary "Spread Aloha"
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of starbulletin.com, we are having a photo contest. Send in your photos of people, places and things that illustrate the theme "Spread Aloha."
photo contest rules
Everyone who submits a photo will have a chance to win one of our starbulletin.com T-shirts. We will award one every day during the contest.
The winner will receive a framed photo of their choice from among those that ran in the Star-Bulletin Special Edition published March 15, 2006, which featured some of our best photos of the past five years.
» To enter...
» E-mail your photos (.jpg format; less than 1 megabyte) to firstname.lastname@example.org
» Include your full name, mailing address and phone number (we won't publish the address and phone number) and shirt size.
» Tell us what's going on in the photo.
» There is a limit of three entries per person.
» All contest decisions by the judges are final.
» All entries become the property of the Star-Bulletin and will not be returned.
» Deadline to enter photos is April 7.
Take our online survey and you could win a T-shirt, too!
We are interested in you and your thoughts about starbulletin.com.
Please take the time to answer the questions in our survey, which will help us serve you better.
Anyone who fills out the survey will be eligible to receive a starbulletin.com T-shirt -- we will have a drawing and give away one a day through April 7, when the survey will end. Thank you!