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Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Monday, March 12, 2001

No regrets: Mahalo
and goodbye

AS a high school journalism student and University of Hawaii undergrad, I would climb the stairs of the News Building during visits to 605 Kapiolani Boulevard, always with a sense of awe and respect. This, I knew, was where I wanted to work one day.

In 1993, my career dream came true on being appointed senior editor and editorial page editor of the Star-Bulletin.

What a memorable eight years it's been. Such an honor to have a regular space to share opinions on current events, social issues and government, whether pleasing to the state's powers-that-be or not.

And what a joy to work with the brightest, most talented and irreverent people in any newsroom. I'll miss them all terribly.

The ownership transfer of this 119-year-old paper on Wednesday means big changes for it and for me.

Then again, the name of this column has always been Changing Hawaii.

Still, pardon my emotion as I take this last opportunity to express my:

Bullet Gratitude to readers for taking the time to ponder and often comment on my thoughts. Continue using this section as a public forum to exchange ideas on how to improve this beloved island, nation and world.

Bullet Sincere best wishes to the new opinion department, soon to be in the capable hands of Richard Halloran. Please give him your continued support and encouragement.

Bullet Pride in the knowledge that I made the tough calls, even when they angered the established and elite. Particularly memorable was the day that then-Managing Editor Dave Shapiro and I agreed to run the essay that would become known as "Broken Trust," which led to massive and irrevocable upheaval at the Bishop Estate.

Bullet Astonishment to read, in the latest edition of Pacific Business News, a quote from David Black, new owner of the Star-Bulletin. I wasn't hired, he said, because "the slant of some of the stories she had been writing over the years (resulted in) feedback from the public that that was not what they wanted. So John (Flanagan, Star-Bulletin editor) went a different way."

Gosh. I wish somebody had told me I was supposed to pen favorable editorials to ingratiate myself with politicians and other opinion leaders in town, instead of speaking the truth. On second thought, never mind -- I'd rather go out this way, at this time, than having had to resort to that.

Bullet Fear at the prospect of unemployment while the bills keep rolling in. Only those who get laid off can relate to the trepidation, although we never think it will happen to us. But it can; it does; it did. And it's scary.

FINALLY, I feel excitement because the end of Diane Chang in the Star-Bulletin doesn't necessarily mean the end of my presence or prose in Hawaii.

I'm determined to continue writing about this place and beyond, via some other venue and perhaps utilizing the vast expanse of the Internet. I've registered the domain name, so be forewarned: This wahine isn't ready to be silenced.

I'm also interested in helping foster the next generation of journalists.

I want them to feel the same awe and respect for this profession wherever they end up working, because somebody has to tell folks what's happening in this fast-paced, decision-filled, snooze-you-lose existence.

After an intense but brief period of personal mourning, I've come to the realization that regret takes up way too much time and energy. I'm choosing hope.

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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© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin