I started as an unpaid intern at Hawaii News Now in the fall of 2011. I had graduated that spring from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and was already teaching at Radford High School when our assignment editor called and said she had seen my resume. To this day I’m not exactly sure there was even a legitimate internship opening; I’m fairly certain I was simply allowed to show up on an under-the-table basis, a challenging feat given my 6’7” frame.
Since nobody told me to stop coming, I continued in that capacity (and then, yes, a legitimate Hawaii Society of Professional Journalists internship) for nearly a calendar year, despite my teaching workload and commitment to coaching high school football. I’d wake up at 6:00 a.m., be at school by 7 a.m., coach football between 3 and 5:30 p.m., then work at the news station from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
I knew that teaching opportunities would present themselves in the future, should I need them, so when Hawaii News Now offered me a job as a digital content producer, working primarily with HawaiiNewsNow.com and the station’s social media accounts, I decided to accept and embark on a new career path. I’m thrilled that I did.
I was soon reassigned to our morning show, and the people on Hawaii News Now Sunrise made that the single most enjoyable job anyone could ever wish to have… Aside from the 1:30 a.m. wake-up call. I spent two years on the morning show as a producer and social media reporter, and wouldn’t have earned an opportunity in sports without the guidance of Steve, Grace, Dan and Howard. I call my fellow producers on the morning show some of my best friends, and could probably make a best-selling book of jokes from the content of our group text messages.
I was born at Kapiolani and raised in Halawa, in the shadow of Aloha Stadium. I watched Michael Jackson’s HIStory tour from the roof of my house in Foster Village, since we could actually see inside the stadium when it was moved into its baseball configuration. I played pop-warner football and basketball as a kid before playing football, paddling and running track at Radford.
I won an O.I.A. title in football as a senior, then lost a state title to coach Wendell Look and the Raiders at Aloha Stadium in my final game as a Ram. I ran onto the field at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe for the first time nine months later, and returned to Aloha Stadium for an appearance in the Hawaii Bowl four months after that, though several knee surgeries in rapid succession shortened my career in maroon and gold. My role model at Arizona State was a kid from Aiea, and though he was taken from us much too soon, I do my best to live every day like B-Rodd. #RIP62
I loved the morning show, but I’m more passionate about sports than I am almost anything else in my life. The opportunity to anchor sports was one I cherised, and the lessons I learned on the desk and in the field, covering Hawaii athletics, are ones I will never forget.
But the future of our industry is in digital, and the chance to help shape Hawaii's future through the computer and cell phone screens of our viewers was one worth embracing.