These Local Freshmen Saved Their College Newspaper from Going Out of Print

The “Kapi‘o News,” a student-run newspaper at Kapi‘olani Community College, went from nearly shutting down in April 2014 to being revitalized last fall.


Kapio news students

Kapi‘o staffers Lexus Yamashiro, Chris Takahashi, Gavin Arucan, Kayla Valera and Nakoa Nunies.
Photo: Courtesy of kapi‘o news


It hasn’t been a good few years for newspapers. Weekday circulation fell 7 percent and Sunday dipped 4 percent in 2015 nationwide, according to the Pew Research Center, showing their greatest declines since 2010. Newsrooms have shrunk and publications have completely shut down or migrated online. In September, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the city’s only daily print newspaper, scaled back to a smaller edition after laying off 15 people.


But there’s a feisty spark of hope: The Kapi‘o News, the student-run newspaper at Kapi‘olani Community College, went from nearly shutting down in April 2014 to being published sporadically as part of a newswriting class to returning to a staff-driven, independent voice last fall.


“An independent voice is vital to a functioning democracy, and college is a microcosm of that,” says Kim Baxter, the faculty adviser. “It is an important way to get students involved and to get them caring about the world around them.”


At the beginning of the fall semester, Baxter walked around campus, recruiting students to join the staff. She approached Lexus Yamashiro, an 18-year-old freshman, in the cafeteria. The aspiring novelist immediately joined the staff. “She said she needed writers, editors and photographers,” Yamashiro says. “I thought, ‘These are the things I love doing.’ Writing is my passion.”


The newspaper publishes online only, posting several stories a week. The paid staff is composed of five dedicated students, all freshmen and new to journalism. But what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm.


“It’s really opened my eyes to what’s going on on campus,” says Yamashiro, who’s now considering majoring in journalism. “Having the Kapi‘o back helps students become aware of what’s going on, too, and what they can get involved in.”


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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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