The major morning daily in the state of Hawaii died this morning after 154 years.
In 2005, I left the mainland to join the Honloulu Advertiser for a brief fling.
I didn’t realize that just as I was realizing my dream of being an “ink stained wretch” that newspapers were nosediving faster than my retro-career was ascending.
When I got there, the Advertiser boasted about hitting revenue records. After a year, cost cutting measures were already in place. Trust me, the “Tiser didn’t go broke transporting my little Toyota from the Mainland. The spending cuts should have been the tip-off.
But newspaper people, despite all the negatives you see in the news, are really professional optimists.
No need for a correction now, the paper was sold for half of what the old owners bought it for. And some of my old colleagues are scratching their heads trying to figure out where they fit in the new one paper town. The Star-Bulletin, the small paper, ate the big paper, the ‘Tiser. The new paper may have indigestion. I hope it survives.
I’ll also miss the Advertiser because it was the first paper to which I gladly silenced my voice, my byline, my perspective, to write under the masthead, which at that time sported hibiscus.
I”ve learned my lesson.
Little known fact. I used the flower in an editorial once as in “stopped to smell the hibiscus.” I thought it clever until my dutiful then-editor, the great Hawaii political analyst Jerry Burris told me “Hibiscus don’t smell. Plumeria do.” Hence, I stopped to smell the plumeria.
I would have liked to have smelled it a bit longer there. But I returned to California in 2007, happy for the experience of seeing the dark side of paradise as a journalist, but realizing that the media was changing faster than we all thought.
In my next Twitter, I’ll try to squeeze in the next Watergate.