Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saying "Aloha" to the Honolulu Advertiser after 154 years

After today, the Advertiser will be no more.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has bought out the Advertiser (both were struggling) and will merge to form one paper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Twenty-eight journalists from the Star-Bulletin will be brought on board.

This paper goes back to the days of the Kingdom of Hawaii, nearly half a century before it was a US territory or state. This makes Oahu pretty much a one-newspaper town (Honolulu Weekly doesn't really count). I don't like that kind of lack of competition, nor do I like the way larger and larger media groups are lapping up newspapers and reducing the amount of independently written content there is.

Orange County is still a two-paper town, with the Orange County Register and the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles itself is sort of a one-paper town (since the Herald-Examiner folded, though the Daily News does have some readership), but there is some competition from "local" papers like the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Here's the link to the Honolulu Advertiser story on its own demise. Here it is in the Los Angeles Times, too, just in case the former link ends up dying soon (the Star-Bulletin also has the story).

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5 comments:

  1. You have to remember these newspapers are closing down because of competition from online media. Oahu would probably still have two newspapers if it wasn't for online competition decreasing subscribers from both papers thus forcing them to merge to stay in business.

    This is a phenomenon happening across the country and not just limited to Oahu.

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  2. "This is a phenomenon happening across the country..."

    True but in this particular case an inferior newspaper is buying out the superior one.

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  3. Oh, I know it's not just an Oahu phenomenon: the Orange County Register itself has gone bankrupt, though it appears it will survive somehow.

    Indeed, there has been a failure to switch business models from print-only to a mixture of print and online access. Targeted ad revenue might help, but a lot of papers should realize that if they just class up their online offerings, they will attract more people (and thus more ad revenue).

    But even if I know the reasons why, I still wish to complain about the results. Local news is hurting, as it is the local papers — not national ones — that do the investigative stuff for local issues. Remember Hwang Woosuk's partner, Dr Gerald Schatten? The OCR won a Pulitzer for uncovering a story about illegal egg usage at my alma mater UCI that had involved Dr Schatten several years earlier (it was a well-known case in OC and at UCI, so I was blown away when I realized that one of those same doctors was involved with Dr Hwang, again over egg procurement).

    Well, maybe this investigative stuff is something that the weekly rags like Honolulu Weekly or OC Weekly can take over.

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  4. Goku wrote:
    True but in this particular case an inferior newspaper is buying out the superior one.

    Yeah, what's up with that? I haven't lived in Honolulu long enough to understand the underpinnings of things like this, so I really don't know the story behind the story.

    Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I'm not happy about this. I've gotten the sense that Honolulu politics involve a lot of corrupt back-room deals and what-not, and this will just make it harder to shine a light on them.

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  5. The Star Bulletin was a failed/bankrupt newspaper that got picked up by some very rich people/organization with a lot of expendable cash. Despite serious efforts to boost subscription the paper was going nowhere fast. They delivered free paper to my door for almost a year, I had to call them up to stop. Anyway, they simply did the easiest thing and bought out the competition.

    “I’ve gotten the sense that Honolulu politics involve a lot of corrupt back-room deals and what-not, and this will just make it harder to shine a light on them”

    Unfortunately so true.

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