Most of Honolulu Advertiser news staff will be out of work after Sunday

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The news behind the scenes at the Honolulu Advertiser isn't good.  Nearly four out of five people in the news department will be out of work after this weekend when the paper merges with the Star Bulletin.

Just 27 people were kept from the Advertiser's newsroom.  Many of those that didn't make the cut have been there for decades and have families to support.

Dayton Morinaga has been a sports reporter with the Advertiser 20 years.  He's seen his fair share of fighters get knocked down but this weekend will be his last round with the paper.

"I was hoping for the best but prepared for the worst and unfortunately I got the worst end," said Dayton Morinaga.  "I got the job when I was still in college, it's basically the only full time job I've had as an adult. Now with the loss of income for my family and the added stress of looking for a job it is difficult."

"Dayton is a terrific writer, a terrific person and a terrific dad. Your heart goes out to a guy like that. For the amount of work he puts in and the effort he does every day you hope he gets a shot down the line somewhere," said Curtis Murayama, Advertiser Sports Editor.

Murayama still has a job, but will be deputy sports editor in the merger.  Even the demotion is better than what the majority of his staff received.

"We have 20 people in our sports staff. Three of us originally got picked, a fourth got picked up later on. That means that 16 of your good friends don't have a job come Monday. That's pretty tough to take because I've known these guys for thirty-something years. Now to not be with them, it's pretty heartbreaking," said Murayama.

In the news department columnist Lee Cataluna was offered a job along with reporters Derrick DePledge, Dan Nakaso, Mary Vorsino and Sean Hao.  Today sports columnist Ferd Lewis was also notified his job was saved.

More than 100 others did not make the cut including veteran reporters Jim Dooley, Gordon Pang and Eloise Aguiar.

"It's been a really somber situation in the newsroom the last week or so especially because we took pride in pretty much being the number one news source in Hawaii and to see so many quality people, so many qualified journalists let go over a business decision it's tough to take," said Morinaga.

Morinaga says he understands the Bulletins loyalty in keeping all its employees, but with a wife and two young daughters ages two and three, he just hopes to get back in the game and write again.

"I hope for the best for the paper I hope is survives and maybe someday I can resurface there," said Morinaga.

Reporter Rick Daysog was also let go. He already found a job with the Sacramento Bee.  His last assignment for the Advertiser will be writing about all the layoffs.  Look for that on Sunday which is also the last day there will be two separate newspapers.

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