Reporter was 'relentless' in pursuit of truth
Doug Woo / Isle Information Officer
Whether he was covering the Democratic National Convention for KGMB-TV or speaking on behalf of the city prosecutor or writing proclamations for the mayor, city information officer and former journalist Doug Woo always believed in the public's right to know, friends and colleagues said.
"Doug was always a reporter first," said friend and former Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who tapped Woo to be his spokesman from 1989 to 1996.
Woo, 57, died Monday night after complaining of chest pains following a workout at the gym, said Kaneshiro.
"Our city ohana is saddened by the sudden passing of Doug Woo," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in a statement. "Doug was a veteran public information specialist and journalist who will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."
Elisa Yadao, a former KGMB reporter, covered government and politics with Woo during the near decade Woo was at the station. She described him as a "formidable reporter."
"He did a lot in his coverage of government -- really an advocate for the people and the public interest," she said. "He was a great teacher and a wonderful mentor. ... He was really fearless and tireless in his work and I'm just really devastated by his loss."
Yadao recalled when she and Woo covered the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988.
"We had so much fun," she remembered. "The convention was on the East Coast and we'd, like, work all day and all night. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about that today because we had such a riot of fun."
Humor was also a Woo calling card, his friends said.
"He was very good at doing voices. He was a pretty good sketch artist, too," Yadao said. "He'd do all the politicians -- he'd do (former Gov. George) Ariyoshi and (former Honolulu Mayor Frank) Fasi and all the ones that were in office at the time."
Jim Manke, who was KGMB assignment editor and news director when Woo was at KGMB, was among those who described Woo as "relentless."
"He was our political reporter and he knew how to dig for a story," Manke said. "He also got a kick out of covering campaigns."
Woo began his career as a reporter for the Honolulu Advertiser in 1970, and in 1980 went to work at KGMB.
Kaneshiro remembered Woo peppering him with tough questions when he worked at the state Attorney General's Office.
"Doug had high principles, strong integrity. He had a disdain for political games," Kaneshiro said. "He believed in people's right to know."
Woo's death came as a shock to those who knew him because he took pride in taking care of his health, they said.
"He always worked out and he always looked in the prime of health," said Carol Costa, city spokeswoman during former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration and Woo's former supervisor. Woo began working for the city administration in 1997 after Kaneshiro left office in 1996.
Customer Services Director Jeff Coelho, who oversees Woo's division, said Woo came to work as usual on Monday and helped write a press release that was used at a press conference yesterday.
Woo is survived by his wife, Patricia; two daughters; and a son.