One-time Star-Bulletin owner to be honored
Financier Chinn Ho will posthumously receive a Special Recognition Award on Aug. 4 from the AAJA
A former owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin is getting national recognition from the Asian American Journalists Association for his efforts to keep Honolulu a two-newspaper town.
Financier Chinn Ho will posthumously receive a Special Recognition Award on Aug. 4 at the Asian American Journalists Association national convention in Miami.
Ho led a group of investors in purchasing the Star-Bulletin in 1961. A year later, he negotiated the formation of a joint operating agreement with the Honolulu Advertiser. At the time, the rival Advertiser was losing circulation and in danger of closing. The agreement allowed both papers to combine advertising, printing and circulation functions while keeping separate editorial staffs.
Ho's son, Stuart, said his father believed that having two newspapers in Honolulu was good for business.
"There's no question that without the newspaper preservation bill (which enabled the formation of the agreement), the Advertiser could not have survived," Stuart Ho said.
"He had this philosophy and he really believed it," Stuart Ho said. "He believed in achieving success by contributing to the success of others."
AAJA noted that both papers have racially diverse staff that reflect the community, and many who got their start in Honolulu have gone on to prominence in journalism both locally and nationally. Both papers continue to offer internships to students through AAJA.
Thurston Twigg-Smith, the former Advertiser owner and publisher, said both papers realized that having a diverse staff helps increase circulation and advertising.
Chinn Ho "certainly contributed to diversity in ownership, which trickled on down," Twigg-Smith said. Diversity "just made good, common sense. It made good business sense, too, because the community was so diverse."
Ho, a self-made millionaire, was also a pioneer in Hawaii's boardrooms, breaking ethnic barriers in many of the state's businesses.
When Ho bought the Star-Bulletin, he became one of the first Chinese Americans to own a major metropolitan daily newspaper.
He died in 1987.