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Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Saturday, January 27, 2001

A truce in the
newspaper war

ON Thursday night, something seemingly insignificant happened that brought this whole "newspaper war" thing back into perspective. I had finished work late, past midnight in fact, and was walking to my vehicle when Advertiser page designer Elizabeth House flagged me down in the Hawaii Newspaper Agency (HNA) parking lot.

She had missed the last bus and asked where I was heading. Makiki? Hey, she lived there, too! Sure, I'd be happy to give her a ride home.

During the eight-minute journey, we talked about our respective homes, why we like the community and even the "safe" topic of the weather. Never mentioned, though, was something definitely on my mind, and maybe on Elizabeth's as well: the upcoming big battle between the Star-Bulletin and the Advertiser once we change hands on March 15.

Star-Bulletin closing after 117 years

Under the new ownership of Canadian publisher David Black, this afternoon, six-day-a-week publication will become a daily (including Sundays) morning and afternoon paper. Our staff will vacate 605 Kapiolani Blvd., which we currently share with Advertiser and HNA employees, and will move to Restaurant Row.

For more than a year, our newsroom personnel have been riding a seesaw of emotion. We've agonized over the announced closure of the Star-Bulletin, been relieved when Black saved it, and are now ready and willing to duke it out with the Advertiser. To psych ourselves up, we often demonize it.

But on Thursday, when Elizabeth and I chatted during our short drive home, the experience reminded me of something I too often forget as we gear up for increased competition: that many of our head-on rivals across the way are actually decent, friendly, hard-working folks, just like us.

As Elizabeth exited my car and waved goodbye in the darkness, I made it a point to remind myself -- the next time I feel supercompetitive and aggressive in this emotional fracas -- that basically, we're all just Hawaii people.

And some very nice ones, at that.

Bulletin shutdown archive

Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at, or by fax at 523-7863.

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