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Friday, November 10, 2000


Closing ‘would
have been a loss’

By Ronen Zilberman, Star-Bulletin
Wayne Cahill and other backers of Save Our Star-Bulletin
held a sign-waving campaign on Oct. 30 to thank the
public for its support of the afternoon daily newspaper.

Readers praise
paper: Less bias,
better focus

Some readers have been faithful
to the Bulletin since the '20s or '30s

Now it must thrive
What it means

By Treena Shapiro

Faithful Honolulu Star-Bulletin subscribers are relieved that they won't have to break their evening reading habits now that the newspaper has been sold to Canadian publisher David Black.

Star-Bulletin closing "That's great," said Evelyn Rodrigues Marko, 86, when told the news. Marko said her family has subscribed to the newspaper since she moved into her Kaimuki home 77 years ago, and the family took the paper even before then.

"My father would work in the daytime, and in the evening is when we would read the newspaper," she said. "We've kept it up ever since."

Marko said she has been reading the paper since she had to follow current events in school, and has kept clippings dating back to World War II.

The Rev. Richard C.P. Chun, 75, of Lihue said he kept the habit of reading the Star-Bulletin even after he retired.

"I'd rather read it in the afternoon than read it in the morning," he said.

He remembers the Star-Bulletin covering President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's visit in July 1934 when his family traveled to Schofield Barracks by train to watch the president review the troops. "I remember the picture of him sitting in the car," he said.

These days, Chun uses the newspaper to track his sons Dennis, a Hawaiian studies instructor who travels with the Hokule'a sailing canoe, and Jonathan, who is in his first term as a state senator.

Riki Fujitani, 39, Island Insurance vice president of information technology, said he has subscribed to the Star-Bulletin since 1987.

"I'm not a morning person, so it didn't make sense to subscribe to the morning paper, which would have older information since I read it in the afternoon anyway," he said.

Fujitani, like many other subscribers, said it is important to keep two editorial voices in Honolulu. "It would have been a loss to the community if you only had one daily circulated paper," he said.

Dentist Tina Tom, 42, said she started subscribing to the newspaper after its closing was announced last September. She and her husband still take the Honolulu Advertiser in the morning, but he reads the morning paper and she reads the afternoon one.

When she subscribed, "it was to support the newspaper," she said, "but now I actually prefer it. I'm glad I did it."

Tom said the Star-Bulletin is better written and less biased than the competition, plus it has a better food section.

She said it was also important that the employees would keep their jobs. "I'm just really glad you guys are still in business," she said.

Lorraine Wong, 40, said: "I grew up with the Star-Bulletin. I've been reading it since I was a kid. My parents always subscribed. That's the only paper they ever subscribed to."

"I did the three-month trial with the Advertiser, but my husband and I decided to stick with the Star-Bulletin anyway. So we intend to keep on subscribing," she said.

Government employee Mike Shiroma, 45, said he has subscribed to the Star-Bulletin since 1992. "It has a better focus on local City and County of Honolulu politics than the Advertiser," he said.

Shiroma said he appreciates the investigative reporting of Rick Daysog and Ian Lind. In a "slam dunk"-driven media, where everyone is trying to get the story out in a few hours, Shiroma said it's good that the Star-Bulletin can afford to let some reporters develop stories over weeks. "They can peel the layers of the onion over time."

He also said he enjoys the "touchy-feely" stories the Star-Bulletin did about the "brain drain" and the editorial department's progressive and activist opinions.

But Shiroma also emphasized the importance of keeping an additional editorial voice alive. "It's such a small little island, with all these diverse interest groups, that it's important that every medium have more than one publisher or dispenser of information for the sake of free press."

 | | |

Governor praises
'sensitive' publisher

Star-Bulletin staff

Gov. Ben Cayetano called the sale of the Star-Bulletin to Canadian publisher David Black "terrific" and said yesterday that Black would be a very good owner who has a great deal of aloha for Hawaii.

"I think he also is a very sensitive and responsible corporate leader and the Star-Bulletin is going to continue in that way," Cayetano said.

"I am pleased that Honolulu's afternoon newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, will continue to operate as an independent publication," Cayetano said, adding that he congratulates Save Our Star-Bulletin for not letting "this 118-year-old newspaper fall silent."

The governor, however, continued his criticism of the newspaper's editorial page staff on its position on issues.

"I would suggest to him that the first thing that he should do is go back a couple of years and read all the editorials that were written," Cayetano remarked. "Don't get me wrong -- I disagree with the Bulletin editors a lot, you know -- but I would hope that a new owner of the Bulletin would want to decide whether they want to have an editorial voice that is less mean-spirited, put it that way, and a little more objective and fair."

"And the people of the Bulletin know I feel this way. This is how I feel," Cayetano said.

 | | |

What do
you think?

What do you think of the Star-Bulletin being saved?

ArtArt Bullet Charlie Choo, 74, Chinatown, retired city parks employee: "Terrific. I used to sell the paper. I used to buy 'em two for a nickel (in 1939). ... I'm glad to get a paper. The Star-Bulletin's got a Saturday paper, right? You get all the funnies."

Bullet John Mailua, 57, downtown, newspaper salesman at Fort Street Mall and Hotel Street: "If it's not (saved), I lose the job. Yeah, it keeps me out of trouble. I've been selling the Star-Bulletin for 27 or 28 years. It's the best (paper) I know."

Bullet Anna Rodrigues, 47, Kaimuki, waitress: "Yeah, I like it, you know. I like it because my daughter used to deliver the Star-Bulletin."

Bullet Kimberly Smith, 19, Punchbowl, Hawaii Pacific University human resources student: "Good. Definitely. With only one newspaper, people only get the views of that one newspaper. With two there's more diversity of opinion."

Bullet Edward Hanlan V, 19, Makiki, HPU public relations student: "It keeps less of a monopoly out here, to diplomatically put it."

Bullet Charlene Rico, 21, Diamond Head, HPU journalism student: "The Advertiser has way too many typos. Who edits their paper? I think they (Star-Bulletin) should give the Advertiser a run for their money. ... Give us a good paper. You can be better. Be different."

Asked downtown at Fort Street Mall and on Hotel
Street by Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin writer.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Star-Bulletin Publisher John Flanagan, left, prospective
newspaper owner David Black, and Don Kendall, who
will run the Star-Bulletin's business operations, gave
a toast yesterday afternoon with the Star-Bulletin news staff.

‘It’s time for us to
show what we can do’

After 13 months of uncertainty,
Bulletin staffers celebrate and
prepare for 'the real war'

By Treena Shapiro
and Harold Morse

News of the Star-Bulletin's impending sale to Canadian publisher David Black came as the Star-Bulletin staff readied the final edition, but work stopped briefly for hugs, laughter and sighs of relief as the employees waited for confirmation that the sale went through.

Several employees said that after months of waiting, it's hard to believe at this point that the deal is final.

Sports writer Paul Arnett said that when he called his wife to tell her the news, she asked, "This isn't like 'Bush wins,' is it?"

Many employees are preparing for a fight as the paper begins "real" competition with the Honolulu Advertiser.

"The phony war is over and the real war starts," said features reporter Burl Burlingame. "It's time to get out of the trenches and charge."

Copy editor George Steele was on vacation yesterday but came into the newsroom to await word of the sale. "Now the real work begins," he said after the announcement. "It's been a long 13 months and we're just now beginning."

"Now it's time for us to show what we can do and keep helping our readers as we've done for all these years," said features reporter Cynthia Oi.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Newspaper pressman Eddie Amaral checks the
Star-Bulletin's reproduction yesterday as it
comes off the presses.

Photographer George F. Lee repeated what he's been saying all along: "Not dead yet, baby!"

"I'm just glad there's been a resolution, that our fate has been decided," he said. "It gives us all a chance to plan for the future, whether it means having to look for new jobs or helping to build the newspaper up from scratch. I'm ready."

Stephanie Kendrick, assistant features editor and a member of the bargaining committee, said she is waiting for more details but looks forward to negotiating with Black. "Everything that he's said suggests his goal and the goal of the employees is the same, and that is the continued publication of a strong, independent Star-Bulletin."

Big Island reporter Rod Thompson, in town for the celebration, expressed interest in Black's intention to increase neighbor island circulation. Now that the paper will not have to be printed on Hawaii Newspaper Agency deadlines, "I would hope for stability in circulation on the Big Island," he said.

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin during World War II, said simply: "I feel good. I would have been terribly depressed if the paper went down."

Black was a popular figure as Star-Bulletin staffers celebrated with him at Murphy's Bar and Grill last night.

"I love that man!" said Nancy McNamee, copy editor.

Mary Fastenau, wife of John Flanagan, Star-Bulletin editor and publisher, also savored the moment. "I'm in complete joy and it's great for Hawaii," she said.

Members of Save Our Star-Bulletin, the community group that helped fight the closure of the paper, were ecstatic.

"Yippee," said former Lt. Gov. Jean King.

"I'm delighted that this is going to continue to be a two-newspaper town," the Save Our Star-Bulletin member said.

"I hope the genuine competition will assure quality for readers and competitive prices for businesses."

"I'm delighted," said Kekoa Kaapu, another Save Our Star-Bulletin member. "I certainly wish Mr. Black well, and I think the community owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude and our aloha and appreciation."

Meanwhile, congratulations came in on email.

Canadian Steve Hanson addressed his to David Black: "Congratulations on your purchase. I wish you every success with the rest of the negotiations. Have a mai tai on me. I look forward to seeing you in Victoria."

From Mississauga, Ontario, Ursula Keuper-Bennett said, "Congratulations and WARMEST regards to ALL!"

Shirley Nordby of Calgary, Alberta, said: "Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I enjoy reading the Star-Bulletin and am very happy for all of you!"

From closer to home, Don Rockwell said: "Yea!! Now comes the hard part."

Kyle Kimura said: "CONGRATULATIONS! What great news!!"

Bulletin closing archive

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