Emotional final printing of Honolulu Advertiser - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Emotional final printing of Honolulu Advertiser

Lorin Okamura Lorin Okamura
Travis Okino Travis Okino

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The final chapters of Hawaii's two largest newspapers have been written and Monday, the new Star-Advertiser makes its debut.

The final press runs began rolling shortly after 10 p.m., Saturday. It's the end of an era and livelihood for some 400 workers who lost their jobs.

But it's also a new beginning for 500 others who'll help create the Star-Advertiser.

The writing's on the wall. The biggest headlines for the Advertiser over the years and in the future will be no more. Now both are just a piece of Hawaii journalism history.

"This closing this I guess in one way it's sad, that we're losing the Advertiser, but I guess in the long run, we should have a stronger newspaper that will hold up better in this economy," Advertiser foreman Lorin Okamura said.

Okamura is a 34-year Advertiser veteran. He's survived many changes at the paper, including recent reduction in forces, which has now made him a foreman.

"The people that I worked with were what made the job, we had fun almost everyday and that's probably what I'll remember the most," he said.

Okamura, along with most of his co-workers in the production department will be kept.

That's because the new paper will be printed out of the Kapolei facility, which houses technology that Advertiser employees are used to working with.

"It's tough to see this go, but there's a lot of content in there, lot of writers had their final words, I just hope they remember us, they remember the Advertiser, all these years," Advertiser pressman Travis Okino said.

Unlike the production side of the paper, the editorial staff of the Advertiser weren't as lucky. Only 28 of the 120 staffers were retained.

In the final edition, they had their final say in letters mostly talking about their fond experiences of working together.

Some looked at things on the bright side, like Wire editor Richard Couch, saying that there are worse things that happen in life.

Others remain bitter, using a sports analogy to describe the merger of the newspapers, saying it was like the L.A. Clippers buying the Lakers, becoming a one-team town, but keeping the Clippers players.

But the headline, saying "Aloha and Mahalo" on the front page may say it best, as change looms ahead for a paper that closes a chapter in its 154-year history.

"Maybe some change might be refreshing, in the past we brought up some issues, where we thought we could've made the paper better and we'll see what happens now," Okamura said.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser will debut Monday in the same format as the Advertiser. It will employ 474 people.

That's roughly the average amount of workers between the two papers before the merger.

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