Reflecting on History…

June 6th, 2010
By

History.  That’s what happened last night.  Honolulu became a one-newspaper town as of 12:01AM June 6, 2010.  My assignment yesterday was to cover the final moments of the last printed edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, and it was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had to do.  Difficult because of the loss of not just a piece of Hawaii’s storied history, but also the loss of many friends and colleagues whom I’ve shared a cutline, a laugh, a heated moment, and the passion of journalism in the field.  As with my previous “Lanterns” post, I tried to be reflective and respectful in these moments.

Honolulu Advertiser photojournalist Andrew Shimabuku photographs the new Star-Advertiser newsstand at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Honolulu Star-Bulletin City Editors Ed Lynch, right, and Betty Shimabukuro discuss a page for the final issue of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

After spending some time in the Star-Bulletin newsroom, I headed up the street with our reporter Allison Schaefers to talk to the Advertiser’s night crew putting out their final issue.  We walked in, and I was immediately overcome with a heinous feeling in the air–one of emptiness, of sadness, of letting go and leaving behind.  Workstations were empty.

Workstations were clear of all computers and personal belongings at the Honolulu Advertiser newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

About 20 people were in the newsroom putting together the final issue.  Among them was night city editor Andy Yamaguchi, whom I  met for the first time this night.  I shook his hand and he had a warm smile and mentioned that he’d seen my work through the years.  I was truly melancholy about having to meet him under these circumstances.

Honolulu Advertiser night city editor Andy Yamaguchi looks out at a very sparse newsroom at the Honolulu Advertiser on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I then ran into an empty workstation with various memorabilia.

Various memorabilia sits on an empty workstation at the Honolulu Advertiser newsroom on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in downtown Honolulu. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

What saddened me most, believe it or not, was the water bottle with a post-it note saying “RIP.”  Details such as these I pay attention to, and though I didn’t know the owner of this water bottle, the drinker of the bottle could’ve been using it habitually all these days, weeks, even years.  I didn’t know, but I could relate.  History.

I had to file these photographs and make it out to Kapolei for the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser.  I got there and ran into Advertiser photographer Norm Shapiro.  We were both there to photograph the paper as it was coming off the press.  History.

The final run of the Honolulu Advertiser runs through the presses at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I’ve never been near a press before, and I’ve been in the newspaper industry for over five years.  It was overwhelming.  It hulked four stories high.  We waited until the 10 o’clock hour then the rollers started going, and the first run of the last Honolulu Advertiser came through like a subway train.

Honolulu Advertiser photographer Norm Shapiro photographs pressman Roscoe Nishida as Nishida checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Pressman Roscoe Nishida quality checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

I was quite reflective upon this historic moment, and was unsure how I felt.  I just took it as my job dictates me to do–record it.  Freeze it in time to be remembered timelessly.

Pressman Herb Hara quality-checks a newspaper during the final run of the Honolulu Advertiser at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

The final run of the Honolulu Advertiser runs through the presses at the Honolulu Advertiser printing press on Saturday, June 5, 2010 in Kapolei. The Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser will both be printing their last issues respectively on Sunday, June 6, as the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut on Monday, June 7, 2010. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

As you are all aware of, the new Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be making its debut into Honolulu homes, minds, habits, and lives tomorrow.  But this is not without saying that Hawaii has also had its lions’ share of top-notch journalists in the past century who were a part of both the Star-Bulletin and the Advertiser.  With that said, my heart goes out to those at the Honolulu Advertiser, but most especially in photo.

Competition or not, at the end of the day, I was proud to call each and every one of the talented photographers on the Advertiser colleagues and friends in this small journalism Ohana.  My warmest and best wishes to you, Honolulu Advertiser photographers of past and present whom I’ve had the privilege of sharing the field with:  Andrew Shimabuku, Eugene Tanner, Richard Ambo, Rebecca Breyer, Deb Booker, Joaquin Siopack, Norm Shapiro, Greg Yamamoto, Jeff Widener, David Yamada, and Kent Nishimura.  Each of you had vision, and that vision told Hawaii the stories it needed to be told.

Posted in news | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Reflecting on History…”

  1. Tweets that mention Aperture Cafe » Blog Archive » Reflecting on History… -- Topsy.com:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gene Park and T. Fukuhara, Aguinaldo, Chris. Aguinaldo, Chris said: Reflecting on History… photos of this day in Hawaii journalism, courtesy Jamm Aquino (Thanks, Jamm) http://ow.ly/1UQxv [...]


  2. Keith:

    A sad day indeed… I always liked having two newspapers and enjoyed reading them both. You did a good job covering the story with your photographs, so thanks for the great work!


  3. BG:

    Moving forward….


  4. madeinhawaii:

    I understand that the Kaneohe Midweek also closed down… sad.. really sad.. so many unemployed.. and now, with only one paper, will there always be a balance of opinion and fact? Will political Bias be slanted in one direction only?


  5. Michael/Sansei:

    You can take away the paper from the person but you cannot take away the person from the paper.

    What is in ones heart stays in ones heart. Unless, one prefers money over the one?


  6. postmanke:

    Nice Images


  7. Norm Shapiro:

    Jamm, that was the “shrine” you photographed in our newsroom. The bottle of water was left by Evan Ray, the Gannett hatchet man, sent in to tell us we were toast! Actually it is the second generation of the “shrine”‘ the first one erected on the actual site where Ray stood and made his speech. Later on our management threatened to take it down so it was moved to a new location, with an actual scale model of the steps, and continued to grow until our last day. You might still be able to see some videos on it on Youtube.

    Keep on shooting-you make the Star Advertiser much better with your work!


  8. kent:

    aloha jamm. nice blog post. it was good seeing you that night…no matter the circumstances.


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