Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Hurricane in Hawaii

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Hurricane in Hawaii

Article excerpt

To help get the Garden Island back on its feet after Hurricane Iniki, Scripps League Newspapers sent cellular phones, laptop computers, and rolls of tarp and plastic sheeting for homeless employees.

As crippled as the paper is, Scripps League officials say things could have been much worse. No newspaper employees died or were seriously injured by Iniki, the worst hurricane to hit the Hawaiian islands in this century.

"We're just so grateful that everyone made it through," said Susan Schauer, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the chain.

Schauer was the last person to talk to Garden Island publisher Edith G. Tanimoto in the hours before Iniki hit.

"I told her, 'Anything you need, just get word to us or get word to the [Scripps League] papers in Honolulu,"' Schauer recalled.

"And she said, 'Well, Susan, I went through [Hurricane] Iwa in '82, and if this is going to be anything like Iwa, all we need are your prayers.'

"I want to tell you how the sound of those words and her voice came back to me all weekend as I was desperately trying to make contact," Schauer said.

Schauer and Jack C. Morgan, president of the Napa Valley (Calif.) Register, have spent much of their time since then with the journalistic and logistical struggle to revive the Garden Island.

As it turned out, the facilities of the 7,461-circulation evening paper escaped significant physical damage, Scripps League reports.

However, power was off throughout the island of Kauai, crippling not only the front end systems and presses but knocking out telephone service.

For days, only one fax line was functioning, and even it was sporadic. Staff at the paper discovered that the line could be used for phone conversation as well, but service was erratic.

Portable generators were airshipped from the Napa newspaper, and Scripps League officials also shipped rolls of plastic sheeting and tarp to provide at least rudimentary shelter for homeless employees. …

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