Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Black Not Blue in Hawaii

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Black Not Blue in Hawaii

Article excerpt

Underdog daily remains afloat

When Canadian publisher David Black stepped in to buy the Honolulu Star- Bulletin last year, local advertisers were relieved that the Hawaii state capital would remain a two-daily city. Some sympathized with its underdog struggle with Gannett Co. Inc.'s The Honolulu Advertiser, while many stood to gain from the ad-rate competition.

Good wishes alone won't guarantee success for the Star-Bulletin, however. Since the afternoon paper was severed from its joint operating agreement with the morning Advertiser and reborn March 15, hopes for the paper have begun to fade.

The Hawaii economy was starting to emerge from a long slump when the Sept. 11 attacks threw its crucial tourism sector into a tailspin. This month, MidWeek Printing Inc., parent of the Star-Bulletin (and MidWeek, a free- distribution shopper), resorted to pay cuts and layoffs of 19 staffers, or 4% -- the newsroom was spared after its union voted for deeper pay cuts to save five jobs.

"As time has gone on, it's clear the newspaper is not attracting the advertising I think [Black] hoped it would," said Mike Middlesworth, a Hilo Island-based newspaper consultant who worked for Black early in the sale process. …

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