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October 2002

The Year of
Sustained Casualties
Welcome to Advertiser-Land

Dispatches from the Front by Burl Burlingame

10/1/02 Remembering Bud Smyser
Here's the walkway stone I purchased to help raise funds for the Pacific War Memorial and to commemorate Bud's passing last year. Note that we weren't allowed to say either "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" or "U.S. Navy." The walkway surrounds the statue's plinth, and Bud's brick is about four rows out, directly in front of the memorial. The site is right at the gate of Kaneohe Marine Base Hawaii, and civilians are supposed to be allowed access. Park at the gate office.

10/4/02 Same old, same old
Actually, not much to report this week. Today is Patsy Mink's service, and pavilions are set up all over the capitol grounds. She's the first woman to lie in state at the building. I'd like to go, but there's too much to do at the paper on Fridays -- we close three editions of the feature section on Fridays.
On the way in, we paused next to a Linda Lingle van and Lingle was inside it, and she smiled and waved at us. My travelling companion got all excited. I wonder if Mazie Hirono elicits much excitement among citizens, or does she remind them too much of every 5th-grade teacher they ever had?

10/5/02 What's your bag, man?
From a Mainland reader comes this artifact that surfaced in an attic. It's a waist banner from street sales, with pockets for change. Looks late '50s, early '60s vintage to me. Certainly pre-JOA -- we never had stuff this cool delivering either paper in the late '60s.

10/9/02 Mink Noise
I'm beginning to miss Patsy Mink. She was Ol' Reliable -- you could count on her to stick to her guns, despite the currents of balderdash emanating from Washington and Honolulu. Whether or not you steered by her light, she was a lighthouse of ethics and compassion in a darkening landscape of public greed and self-serving politics. She actually believed in the concept of "public service," whereas most running for public office believe in serve-yourself.
So it's interesting watching the power grabs now in play concerning her election. Mink was so sure of reelection that her death created a unexpected void, like a Caesar dying. Even though she'd dead, Mink's still officially running for office, and Republicans are annoyed that she lingered for two days past the deadline to drop out of the race. Well, she had to be conscious to do that, and I'm told (second-hand) by Queen's nurses that Mink was in a coma practically from the moment they checked her in.
So now there apparently must be a couple of special elections to fill her spot, one to fill out this term (just a couple of months) and one for the next full term. Such elections will cost millions, and Gov. Cayetano is trying to amortize the cost -- the state can't really afford millions -- by moving up the fill-in election to the normal election day in November.
Mink's daughter Gwendolyn Mink surfaced yesterday and explained that the family was so wrapped up in Mink's illness that they weren't paying attention to the election. She also complained about Hawaii's Democratic strategists trying to work various scenarios before her mother actually died.
And so Patsy Mink's daughter attacks the Democratic party on the eve of an election? And particularly the "strategists" for doing -- essentially -- their job? Which is, of course, stratgizing. Well, duh.
Gwendolyn Mink wrote an angry essay on the subject that was printed in yesterday's Advertiser. Although there was a follow-up fax sent to the Star-Bulletin, there's no indication that the essay was ever offered to the Star-Bulletin. Somebody's playing favorites.

10/14/02 Ring-ring ding-a-ling
Whoever that was calling me from the Indiana State Republican Party at 4 a.m. this morning, urging us to vote Republican in this year's election -- that's not the way to go about it. Of course, when I screamed, "Are you out of your freakin' mind, you asshole!" and slammed the phone down, that should have been a clue that we're in a different time zone. And not that easily swayed,

10/15/02 Sleepless in Seattle
Erika Engle, bless her, who watches the business wires, hips us to a situation in Seattle's joint operating agreement between the Times and the Post-Intelligencer. The Times is making noise about shedding the JOA, and the reasons sound familiar.

10/16/02 Gannett still raking it in -- just not in newspapers
Thanks to advertising income from its televison holdings, Gannett made a sharp spike in third-quarter earnings. According to Reuters, Gannett's third-quarter profit rose to $265.6 million, or 99 cents per share, from $227.1 million, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier. Gannett's operating revenue rose 4 percent to $1.58 billion. Television revenue totaled $184 million, up 24 percent. On the other hand, newspaper ad revenue rose just 2 percent to $1.01 billion. USA Today, their flagship product, had a loss of 7 percent. If newspaper revenue stays flat for them, they'll likely divest themselves of the money-hemorrhaging Honolulu product,

10/17/02 We've been this way before ...
There's a saying in the newspaper-delivery biz -- don't go down the same street twice. But that's exactly what the Gannett Advertiser does with their separate P.M. delivery team. They're the only paper in the country -- possibly the world -- that does this. Far-sighted visionaries or desperate chance-taking? The stockholders will be the judge.

10/18/02 Itchy and Scratchy
What's this we hear about a dozen or more people in the Gannett Advertiser news room coming down with severe skin rashes? Environmental or psychological causes?

10/20/02 A clipping disservice
One of the amusing things television news does to prove an event actually happened is to show images of newspaper clippings. If it appeared in a newspaper, it must be real, right?
However, a television ad against Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle, sponsored by the website, uses images of newspaper clippings -- two from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and one from the Honolulu Advertiser -- of newspaper stories critical of Lingle. I dunno if they're actual stories or not -- yet ! -- but the images of the clippings themselves are complete fakes.
It made me curious enough to visit the site again, which has grown into a regular master's thesis exposing Lingle perfidy. There are links a'plenty to newspaper stories. Here's the first example I looked at:
LINDA LINGLE'S SENIOR CAMPAIGN AIDE FACES POSSIBLE CRIMINAL CHARGES AFTER FALSIFYING HOME ADDRESS TO RUN FOR STATE HOUSE it says, and then reveals that a Lingle aide listed the wrong home address when running for office. There are links to "Star-Bulletin stories" supporting this. But when you go to these links, you discover they're actually Associated Press stories.
Other links actually get you PDF files of real-life clippings. Good on them -- they should done the same in their TV ad. Some of the clippings shown have obviously been saved for more than 10 years, others are from the Gannett Advertiser library; others are faxed copies. But they're real.

10/22/02 Digging in
Somewhere in this area in Kapolei, the new Gannett Advertiser printing plant is being constructed. Right now they're grading, laying sewer lines and digging out the vaults for the gold buillion and underground interrogation chambers. Estimated cost: $80 million! It'll be a nice capital investment for whoever Gannett sells the Advertiser to.

10/24/02 Welcome to Advertiser-land
The meanness never stops. A Gannett Advertiser manager "jokingly" groused that if a Star-Bulletin staffer is assigned as pool photographer to cover the Philippines presidential visit, the Star-Bulletin will screw everyone. Only Advertiser photographers should be trusted.
Last week, a group of college-level journalism students visited both newsrooms. They reported that Gannett manager Jim Kelly lectured them on the importance of having a one-newspaper town. If there's only one newspaper, Kelly supposedly told them, it's better for everyone -- more J-jobs, higher ethical standards, cheaper rates for advertisers, a better quality of news coverage. You just have to get rid of that annoying competition. They're trying to kill the Star-Bulletin for the good of Hawaii citizens!
"What planet is he from?" remarked one of our people, upon hearing this.
"Down is up, wrong is right, dark is light, day is night," said another.
"Welcome to Advertiser-land," said a third.

10/25/02 Ollie ollie,
in come free
Now-it-can-be-told department -- I spent most of last evening with make-up on. "Just enough to get rid of the shine," the make-up artist cooed. But apparently I have lots of shiny areas.
Most of the evening was spent being interviewed by Col. Oliver North. His Fox-News show "War Stories" is building an entire episode around my Pearl Harbor book and he and his producers
came to Hawaii to "do" me and and the HURL team and get the prerequisite exteriors. More on that later. The funny thing is -- one of the producers told me -- that North had been interviewed earlier in the day by a Gannett Advertiser reporter, and when the reporter was told why North was here, he flipped out and got way-surly. It will be interesting to see what backflips they perform to avoid mentioning the reason for North's visit in the story.
The rest of the evening was spent at the dress rehearsal for the annual "Gridiron" variety show that raises funds for the local chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. Local reporters and media types do some fabulous singing and dancing and acting and such. Not me! I just read something off a piece of paper. It's certainly all I can handle.

10/28/02 Nupepa kakou
The Star-Bulletin debuted Kauakükalahale, our Hawaiian-language column this week, the first time Hawaiian has appeared in a daily newspaper in more than half a century. It's not that easy. We had to design and install Hawaiian-language typefaces that would also work in online editions. The kahako, or overline pronunciation (it's NOT punctuation), is still a problem, though, and the online editions substitute an umlaut. Hawaiian-language substitute fonts are available via the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

10/30/02 Nupepa kakou deux -- is Ka Leo a daily?
Please forgive me for making a little squeaking sound in response to your item on 10/28 blurb on the new Hawaiian-language column in the Star-Bulletin -- which, of course, I'm happy to see. The thing is, I believe the reason the official promo language for the column is worded "in a daily newspaper of broad/wide circulation" (rather than simply "in a daily newspaper" as you wrote it) might be because of me.
Okay, it's a small thing, but...
When I was editor of Ka Leo, I introduced a weekly Hawaiian language column -- actually, a prominently placed editorial -- that I was quite proud of. It caused quite a stir, more than a few complaints from people (instructors and students alike) who couldn't understand Hawaiian, but of course we got a lot of kind words from Hawaiian students and groups. At first we provided translations for people to pick up at the Ka Leo office, but then we made and explained the decision to let the column run as-is, no
translations at all. Hawaiian is an official language of this state, we said, and can and should (even if only in that small way) stand on its own.
And yes, we did cause quite a few headaches for the people in the backshop as far as Hawaiian diacritical markings were concerned. (The great stuff put out by Hale Kuamo'o was, at the time, incompatible with the Stone Age system Ka Leo used for typesetting.) If I recall correctly, a couple of times we just output from a Mac (my PowerBook) to a laserprinter and dropped that onto the layout.
In any case, that's why I smirked whenever I heard the KHPR news blurb on it, and the wordy, "in a daily newspaper of wide circulation," because I figured someone remembered our little stab at it back in 1995-'96. But maybe not. :)
Just my $0.07!
Ryan Kawailani Ozawa, Editor-in-Chief, Ka Leo O Hawai`i, 1995-1997

10/31/02 Is Laureen really gone?
After a number of false starts, office manager Laureen Kodama has moved on to another job elsewhere. She wouldn't tell us where. "It's a non-profit!" she exclaimed as she whooshed out of here. (Well, that leaves out Gannett.) Anyway, Laureen was a stalwart in the dark days of closing, and helped immensely with the planning logistics that aided in saving the newspaper.
NEXT! November 2002

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