The New Guy

Introducing this magazine’s 21st editor.


"Congratulations! You're going to need this," said John Heckathorn, with a laugh, handing me a small present on my first day as the new editor of HONOLULU Magazine.

I unwrapped the gift to find a bottle of Aleve. "All day strong," boasted the label on the bottle, ready to soothe any headache an editor might have to endure.

I laughed, too. We had worked side-by-side for 11 years, with Heckathorn as editor, so I already had some insight into what it meant to edit a city magazine. But the gift really brought it home. The job-headaches, fun and everything in between-was really mine.

For readers who might not have heard yet, Heckathorn has joined another division of our parent company, aio Live!, as director of Integrated Media. This new position will have him developing and managing content for our Web site,, where this magazine, as well as our sister publications, Hawai'i Business and Hawai'i Home + Remodeling, will have a much improved presence. You may have already heard him back on the air with Heckathorn's Hot Plate, weekdays from 6 to 7 p.m. on 1420 AM radio.

"I'm an old dog who's got a chance to learn new tricks," says Heckathorn.

He'll also continue to write his dining column for the magazine, this month found here.

I wish John all the best. It was John, after all, who took a chance on hiring me as an associate editor in 1994, for which I will always be grateful.

As for me, I'm thrilled and honored to find myself the 21st editor in this magazine's 118-year history.

This is a great time to come into the job. When I first arrived, Hawai'i was hip-deep in a recession. "Stay Alive Till '95," people used to say, though, of course, 1995 came and went with no relief. We all watched the headlines to see if the current year's bankruptcy rate wouldn't outstrip the previous year's. The town felt as if it would never get out of idle.

Photo: Janelle Kalawe

Not any more. New buildings climb their way into the skyline. New art scenes, such as First Friday in downtown Honolulu, bloom with creativity. DJs and nightlife entrepreneurs drum up a new beat.

A city magazine, like other niche publications-such as People, Lucky, Foreign Affairs, Cat Fancier, Stereophile-is an enthusiast publication. It's easy to feel enthusiastic about Honolulu and the Islands these days, and about HONOLULU Magazine itself. We've never been in better fiscal shape. The issues are bigger than ever, allowing our writers and art directors room to stretch and push themselves.

Magazines evolve; they must. You can expect to see some changes in the magazine, as we explore our beat in different ways. But one thing will not change. HONOLULU remains, as it has always been, a magazine for those who know and love the Islands, who want to get the most out of living here, and better understand how and why things happen here. Because no place is perfect, we'll also continue to shine a light on the things Hawai'i could be doing better.

This is my 131st issue on staff-and my very first as editor. I'm honored, excited and ready for the fun. Thanks to Heckathorn, I'm ready for the headaches, as well.

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Honolulu Magazine November 2018
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