Memories and hopes fill newspapers' last day


POSTED: Sunday, June 06, 2010

Workers at The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin put the last editions of their newspapers to bed last night, ending a storied journalistic rivalry that spanned three centuries.

The mood was somber yesterday as about 20 Advertiser employees worked on the paper and cleared out their work stations. Andy Yamaguchi, who had worked his way up from sports reporter to night city editor over his 30-year career at the Advertiser, finished his last shift on Friday but returned to take pictures.

“;I would rather have had a job, but this is a chance to go through another door and see what's out there,”; Yamaguchi said. “;I'm really happy for all of our guys that got to move over. It will be a good, strong paper.”;

On the final day of production for the Star-Bulletin, most workers were looking ahead. The logo on the newsroom wall sported the familiar blue star, but the name had already been changed to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Yellow caution tape kept workers out of construction areas at the paper's Waterfront Plaza headquarters. A line of chairs, near the front door, was marked with the names of Advertiser workers who will join the newsroom tomorrow.

Star-Bulletin photographer Craig Kojima, who was not working yesterday, visited both newsrooms to witness history and say goodbye to friends.

Although Kojima has worked for the Star-Bulletin for nearly 40 years, he has not forgotten that it was the Advertiser that gave him his start in 1968.

“;It's been a battle all the way through,”; Kojima said. “;It's kind of like a survivor's kind of thing. Now those left have to put out one good paper. It's a very large responsibility.”;

Some 453 layoffs started Friday and continued yesterday, said Star-Advertiser Publisher Dennis Francis, who is also president of the Black Press subsidiary Oahu Publications Inc.

“;While it's a very exciting time to be a part of the first day of a new metropolitan newspaper, it's also with mixed emotion because we are keenly aware that there are hundreds of employees that are without jobs,”; Francis said.

Today is the last day for workers at the Star-Bulletin's Kaneohe press plant, Francis said. Layoffs will come later for Advertiser pressmen, production and delivery workers not offered Star-Advertiser employment, he said. They will be on call until the first week of July, Francis said.

Patrick “;Rick”; DeCosta Jr., who worked as an Advertiser district manager for nearly a decade, said today is the last physical day of work for him and 63 others in his department.

“;I worry for the guys for have been doing this job for 20 or 30 years,”; DeCosta said. “;Where are they going to go? Outside of the Star-Advertiser, there aren't any papers to deliver.”;

Tomorrow, the first edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be published in the consolidation of the 128-year-old Star-Bulletin and nearly 154-year-old Advertiser.

The Star-Advertiser debuts with 474 employees, including about 274 from the Advertiser and 200 from Oahu Publications, Francis said. The company still needs to fill about 15 part-time inserter jobs at its Kapolei plant, he said.



Feb. 1, 1882: Henry Whitney, who had founded the Pacific Commercial Advertiser some years before, began placing a “;Daily Bulletin”; in the window of James Robertson's Honolulu waterfront stationery store. It's such a sensation that Robertson bought the concept from Whitney and hired him as editor of Hawaii's first successful daily newspaper.

March 28, 1893: Two months after Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown, businessman Joseph Ballard Atherton founded the Hawaiian Star as a mouthpiece for the provisional government.

July 4, 1894: The Republic of Hawaii was established, and Whitney's successor as Advertiser editor was New Englander Wallace Rider Farrington. While Farrington edited the Advertiser, it was purchased by Lorrin Thurston. Disagreeing with Advertiser policies, Farrington became editor of the competing Daily Bulletin.

July 1, 1912: The Hawaiian Star and Evening Bulletin merged to form the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Riley Allen became editor. Joseph Ballard Atherton and sons Charles H. and Frank Cooke became owners of the Star-Bulletin, the latter becoming the first Star-Bulletin president. Wallace Farrington became vice president and general business manager.

1925: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin bought the Tribune-Herald in Hilo, operating it from afar until the Big Island paper was divested to Donrey Media in 1964.

July 6, 1929: After Wallace Farrington completed eight years as territorial governor, Frank Cooke Atherton turned control of the Star-Bulletin over to Farrington, who was named president and publisher.

Dec. 7, 1941: On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Star-Bulletin published its most famous extra, as Editor Riley Allen and staff scrambled to print the first paper in the world with news of the assault. Extras were being sold on the street within three hours.

Nov. 3, 1942: Joseph Farrington, Star-Bulletin president and general manager, was elected nonvoting Hawaii delegate to Congress. He was re-elected in 1944, 1946, 1948, 1950 and 1952.

Bill Ewing, Star-Bulletin editor, was credited with creating the slang term “;SeaBee”; for the U.S. Navy's construction battalions.

Oct. 24, 1944: Wartime martial law ended in Hawaii. The Star-Bulletin had strongly opposed martial law from its inception shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Dec. 1, 1952: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin partnered with radio man Cec Heftel to open KGMB-TV, Hawaii's first television station, airing for the first time.

April 17, 1953: In response to a statement by Mississippi's Sen. James Eastland that Hawaii was dominated by Communists and would, if granted statehood, send representatives of Moscow to Congress, the Star-Bulletin devoted most of its front page, all of page 2 and part of page 3 to listing the names of Hawaii's dead, wounded, missing and prisoners in the 1950-53 Korean War.

March 9, 1957: Star-Bulletin reporter Sarah Park, 29, died when a small plane piloted by Hawaii advertising executive Paul Beam crashed into the sea just off Laie Point while covering tidal wave action. Beam, 42, died less than 24 hours later. Star-Bulletin photographer Jack Matsumoto survived the crash with injuries, eventually returning to work.

1959: The Star-Bulletin publishes its famous statehood editions. The most famous picture - Chester Kahapea hawking statehood editions two days before his 13th birthday - appears March 13. The picture, snapped by Murray Befeler of Photo Hawaii, is picked up by such newspapers as the New York Times and New York Daily News.

July 22, 1960: Riley Allen steps down as editor after 48 years. Star-Bulletin circulation during his career rose from about 4,000 in 1912 to 104,000 in 1960. He had overseen coverage of two of Hawaii's biggest stories - the Pearl Harbor attack and statehood.

1961: A “;hui”; including Chinn Ho, Joseph Ballard Atherton, Alexander Atherton, William H. Hill and John T. Waterhouse forms to buy the Star-Bulletin from the Farrington Estate.

June 1, 1962: The Star-Bulletin and its morning rival, the Honolulu Advertiser, set up a third company, the Hawaii Newspaper Agency, under a joint operating agreement to handle non-newsroom functions of both papers. The Sunday editions of both papers are combined.

Aug. 2, 1971: Gannett Co. Inc. announces it is purchasing the Star-Bulletin, which now has a circulation of 128,000.

Jan. 7, 1993: Gannett announces it has reached an agreement to sell the Star-Bulletin to Rupert Phillips' Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership in a move that will allow Gannett to complete its acquisition of the Honolulu Advertiser. Star-Bulletin circulation is 88,000.

Aug. 9, 1997: The Star-Bulletin publishes the “;Broken Trust”; essay by five community leaders critical of Bishop Estate trustees. This leads to investigations, court actions and statewide soul-searching to bring about corrective action. The $1 million-a-year Bishop Estate trustees are eventually toppled and reforms are set in motion.

Sept. 16, 1999: Liberty Newspapers announces it will shut down the Star-Bulletin on Oct. 30 because of better investment opportunities on the mainland. Circulation is 67,124. A group of community members called Save Our Star-Bulletin bands together in an effort to keep the paper alive.

Oct. 13, 1999: District Judge Alan Kay issues a preliminary injuction in federal court keeping Gannett Co. and Liberty Newspapers from taking further steps to close the Star-Bulletin. On Nov. 9 the court approves Black Press Ltd.'s purchase of the Star-Bulletin. In December Black Press owner David Black announces he is purchasing RFD Publications, which owns MidWeek.

Nov. 9, 2000: The federal court approved Black Press Ltd.'s purchase of the Star-Bulletin. The order comes after Black Press reached agreement with Liberty and Gannett over the terms of the Star-Bulletin takeover.

March 15, 2001: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin begins a new era at Waterfront Plaza offices, launching its inaugural edition and new morning issue under Oahu Publications, a new local company formed by David Black. Don Kendall is named publisher. The paper is published on the MidWeek press in Kaneohe.

June 3, 2004: David Black scored another coup when two former Advertiser executives joined the Star-Bulletin. Dennis Francis was named president of Oahu Publications Inc. and publisher of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Glenn Zuehls was named vice president of advertising.

Feb. 25: An agreement for Oahu Publications Inc., which owns the Star-Bulletin and MidWeek, to acquire its longtime rival, The Honolulu Advertiser, is announced in simultaneous meetings in both newsrooms.

June 6: At the conclusion of the transition period, Oahu Publications merges both newspapers into the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, under publisher Dennis Francis.