We are a cynical culture when it comes to the media.Â And with good reason.Â The impartial journalist of integrity is starting to seem like a quaint, old-fashioned notion–soon to be replaced entirely by the journalist who pursues an obvious political agenda, even while loudly ridiculing the possibility of media bias.Â And as for local news . . . well, all too often it seems to have devolved to weather updates, local tragedies, and an extended recap of high school sports scores.Â (Ironic, most of this can be learned about more quickly by asking the lady next door.)
But there are exceptions.Â Â And today, we’re celebrating the 9th Anniversary of one the best of them.Â Yes, today, Hawaii Reporter turns 9.Â (Happy Birthday!)
People want to use all the trendy buzzwords about communication in the 21st century to belittle the importance of community news, but the truth is that it’s still as important as ever.Â My ability to send a message to Washington DC in a matter of nanoseconds doesn’t make them more interested or dedicated to our interests out here.Â And when was the last time you saw something about Hawaii on the national news that didn’t deal with the LA Lakers training camp, a beauty pageant, or a television show?Â The more things change, the more they stay the same.Â And for all of this time, Hawaii Reporter has been setting the standard for an active, invested, and free community news source.Â More than any other news outlet in Hawaii, they have concerned themselves with providing a voice for the regular local guy and keeping abreast of the issues that we really care about (and without the editorializing that so often derails one’s enjoyment of the Advertiser and other Hawaii newspapers.)Â Let’s hope they’re around for many more anniversary celebrations.
I confess that I’ve always kind of liked the Honolulu Star-Bulletin the best.Â Nothing against the Advertiser, but I always felt like there was a little less editorial bias at the Bulletin.Â And also there’s just something about the name.Â “Star-Bulletin.”Â It sounds dreamy, but newsy.Â Just what I want out of a Hawaii newspaper.Â (Well, that and good, fair news coverage of course.)
But the Bulletin is actually in danger of shutting down–maybe even as soon as next week.Â Why is this bad news?Â Well, on a practical level, that means that hundreds of Hawaiians are in danger of losing their jobs.Â And that stinks no matter how you cut it.Â But beyond that, losing the Star-Bulletin will make Honolulu a one-newspaper town.Â And if you want to encourage fair, responsible, and hard-hitting reporting, a little competition is important.Â The internet may have changed news forever in letting people choose to get their news from a source they trust, but without the journalists on the ground, it gets harder and harder to find good information.Â (And this goes double for the outer islands.Â Feel a little overlooked now?Â Imagine how much worse that can be with only one major paper in Hawaii’s capitol to cover your news and concerns.)
It just so happens that there are two highly-respected local figures who have put forth a bid to buy the Star Bulletin–State Senator Sam Slom and Hawaii Reporter’s Malia Zimmerman.Â I won’t bore you all with their bonafides, but believe me when I say that if you’re local and wish that there was a Hawaii newspaper run by people who lived here, understood Hawaii, understood our concerns, and would promote accurate and unbiased reporting, then it would be hard to do better than these two. (And for all y’all on the outer islands, take note that part of their plan for the Star-Bulletin, should their bid succeed, is to expand its coverage of the outer islands and make it less Oahu-centric.)
As to why that matters to those of us concerned about transparency and fiscal responsibility?Â Well, it should be obvious that if we want to ensure an independent voice in the community for issues like this, we need to save the Star-Bulletin.
(Want to learn more?Â Go toÂ http://www.savehawaiinews.com.)