Saturday, October 16, 1999

Maui News
leaves many
surprised, sad

The Cameron family is
talking to potential buyers
for the afternoon daily

By Gary T. Kubota
Maui correspondent


WAILUKU -- Employees at the Maui News say they were surprised and saddened to hear that the newspaper may be sold by a family which has been associated with it for five generations.

"It was somewhat unsettling, and I'm just hoping a buyer can be found who will care as much for this community,' said Maui News reporter Timothy Hurley.

The announcement yesterday came with assurances from publisher Richard Cameron that he is talking with newspaper companies "whose corporate strategy and commitment to newspapers would be attractive to us."

Cameron said the newspaper's board, which includes nine family members, is exploring possibilities: "We haven't decided to sell," he said.

He declined to comment on the newspaper's financial condition.

Several years ago, the afternoon daily newspaper reduced its personnel because of declining advertising revenues. The newspaper has 22 editorial employees, down from its peak of 28 positions.

Employees say an air of uncertainty has descended in the news building.

"We just have to wait until we know who the buyer is," said Patricia Kaauamo, who has worked as a receptionist at the newspaper for 22 years.

News editor Lee Imada said many employees feel the Cameron family has treated them well, and he believes the owners will find a good buyer.

"I'm confident they'll find a buyer who's concerned about the community and the newspaper and the workers," Imada said.

The newspaper, founded in 1900, has a daily circulation of about 17,000 and has received several national journalism awards.

Cameron said he himself has mixed feelings about selling the newspaper because of his family's involvement in its publication.

One of the founding partners was Cameron's great-great-grandfather, Henry Perrine Baldwin, a moving force behind the growth of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

In 1940, the paper was purchased by J. Walter Cameron, whose descendants continue to control the company through the J. Walter Cameron Trust.

The trust owns 73 percent of the newspaper.

The Maui News

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