Trailblazing journalist fought for openness
AH JOOK Leong Ku
Ah Jook Ku, an indefatigable champion of a free press and public access to information, has died at age 97.
was an individual whose unflagging devotion to a fair and free press never diminished, a tireless advocate for First Amendment rights and citizens' access to information.
She was a woman of a generation in which gender stood in the way of careers outside the norm, in which a Chinese heritage blocked many from achievement.
So it was no easy feat that she was the first Asian-American woman to become a reporter for the Associated Press wire service, covering China and President Chiang Kai-Shek in the 1940s, and the first to be hired by the Star-Bulletin.
The jobs were the foundation for her later work in public relations and later as an information specialist for the state Department of Education, retiring in 1975.
She found a second calling as a founding member of the Honolulu Community Media Council, formed after Mayor Frank Fasi, displeased with newspaper coverage, refused to allow first the Star-Bulletin, then the Honolulu Advertiser to attend his press conferences.
For 25 years, she took on the unpaid position of leading the council, pushing politicians and government officials on open meetings and media organizations on fairness and ethics.
For people at the Star-Bulletin, Ah Jook Ku holds a special place. She was one of the original members of Save Our Star-Bulletin, a group of community leaders who sued to keep this newspaper operating after its former owner tried to shut it down.
She died Monday at age 97. She will be greatly missed.
Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek
and military newspapers
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Black, Dan Case, Dennis Francis,
Larry Johnson, Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke,
Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, Michael Wo
Editorial Page Editor
(808) 529-4748; email@example.com
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (USPS 249460) is published daily by Oahu Publications at 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii. Postmaster: Send address changes to Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.