While Hawaii welcomes the news that Huffington Post is coming this fall in a partnership with Civil Beat, we mourn the sudden demise of Honolulu's only independent weekly newspaper, Honolulu Weekly. HW announced today that its June 5-11 issue will be its last.
This, right after winning the 2013 Hawaii Publishers' Association Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting for its series on GMO experimental crops and Monsanto and other biotech comapnies bought political influence in Hawaii.
Today's edition of the mainstream daily newspaper breaks the story.
Full disclosure: This writer is the paper's editor in chief, and my staff and I were informed of our termination June 4, after we'd gone to press, unaware that it would be our final issue. The publisher's notice of closure can be seen in today's edition. The editorial team is seeking investors to help us start up, perhaps afresh and under a new name, in the fall. HW's Facebook page is filled with mournful yet hopeful comments.
For 22 years, in a state run by big-money conglomerates perpetuating the "plantation" model of social injustice and environmental destruction, the Weekly gave voice to alternative points of view while serving up a steady mix of hard-bitten investigative news reporting and hip, socially concerned cultural features.
Recent honors included the top award for investigative reporting from the Hawaii Publishers Association in 2012 and 2013, the top award for enterprise reporting from the Hawaii Society for Professional Journalists in 2012, and selection as a Grand Marshall of the 2012 Honolulu Pride parade.
Ironically, the Weekly bites the dust the same month as Hawaii's nationally respected media shield law expires after a state senator's bizarre campaign to amend it so that alternative newsweeklies (guess who) and bloggers would not be protected. The state House at the last minute opted to let the shield law sunset rather than incorporate the Senate's chilling amendments.
In a state now lacking protection for journalists' confidential sources and research notes, can there be a happy ending for the Weekly? We think we're needed more than ever. Stay posted.