Monday, June 7, 2010
Aloha and R.I.P., Honolulu Advertiser (and Honolulu Star-Bulletin)
Honolulu joins the ever-growing list of one-newspaper towns as of Monday, when the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser emerges from the ashes of the 154-year-old Honolulu Advertiser and the 128-year-old Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
During our years in Hawaii, my family subscribed to the Star-Bulletin, which back then was an evening paper. I always liked the idea of getting the evening paper in Hawaii -- thanks to the six-hour time difference (at least during daylight saving time) from the East Coast. That meant you would get today's news today, which was kinda cool. Take that, TV news.
But evening papers are pretty much unheard of now in the U.S., and by 1999 the Star-Bulletin's days were numbered. The paper was set to shut down when a new owner came to the rescue. Eventually, the Star-Bulletin was turned into a tabloid size and moved to a morning print schedule. The Advertiser, owned by Gannett, continued to dominate its much weaker opponent.
That's why it's a bit odd to see the recent turn of events: Gannett, itching to get out of Hawaii, announced that it would sell the Advertiser to the Star-Bulletin owner, Black Press. In merging the two papers, Black is keeping most of its own Star-Bulletin staff and just hiring a handful of Advertiser personnel. In the end, the newspaper that was supposed to die more than a decade ago is now the last one standing.
Meanwhile, about 400 jobs that have just been eliminated by the merger. Add that to the ever-growing list of journalism jobs that have disappeared.