Aloha Also Means Goodbye

Welcome to the August issue, and farewell

This is my last issue of the magazine.

I began writing for HONOLULU in 1985.  Driven by the constant monthly deadlines, the years have just flown by.

In more than two decades, I never remember once thinking, “Thank God, it’s Friday.” More than once I’ve thought, “Friday already?  Can I have the week back?”

It’s been fun, a huge privilege. Over the years, I’ve interviewed governors and mayors, talked with university presidents, private detectives, bank CEOs and Hawaiian activists. I’ve landed on an aircraft carrier, driven a Ferrari, choppered onto Kahoolawe, flown to Japan. I’ve hung out in the kitchen with a young Roy Yamaguchi, helped a
film crew stampede cows for a Magnum P.I. episode, been nominated for a Na Hoku award for our 50 Greatest Hawaii Albums CD.

At a magazine, your interests can be as broad as the city you cover. You can drink champagne with a French count one evening, and the next day find yourself scrambling to stay on top of politics or the economy.

As much fun as it’s been, it’s also been a responsibility.  I stepped up as editor during a recession. “This magazine’s more than a century old,” I remember telling myself.  “Damned if it’s going to die on my watch.”  There were budget constraints and lean staffing. Despite that, we published some exceptional work—like Scott Whitney’s investigative work on Bishop Museum, or managing editor A. Kam Napier’s “The Death of Public Schools,” which set off the statewide debate over public education.

Four years ago, I shepherded the magazine through an ownership change. Our new offices weren’t ready, so we put together our Holiday Annual issue that year, with four of us clustered around a small conference room table.

Every month, finishing the magazine seemed like a miracle. Never more so than one December when an art director tried to fix his computer. In doing so, he erased from his hard drive every page, every single page of the issue in progress. Of course, he’d neglected to back up. In five days, we were supposed to be at the printer. We made it.

Over the years, I’ve spent less time writing and more time managing the magazine, doing budgets and long-range planning, developing stories, nurturing writers, building
editorial teams. I’ve had the joy of working with talented people all along the way—photographers like, to name a few, Franco Salmoiraghi, Olivier Koning and Guy Sibilla;
art directors like Tess Black, Michel Lê and Jayson Harper; writers like Napier, Whitney and countless others. The present staff—which, in addition to Napier, includes Ronna Bolante, Mike Keany, Kathryn Drury Wagner, Lori Tomonari—is the best we’ve ever assembled.

I am leaving at the top of my game. This magazine is healthier now than ever in its 117-year history, both financially and in terms of its editorial content. Last month, in addition to the eight awards from the Hawaii Publishers Association and the 10 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, we won a gold medal for being the best city magazine of our size in the country.

The magazine’s parent company, the aio Group, has decided it wants a different editor to take the magazine in a new direction, so I am off to do something else.

I will miss you, the readers. Thanks to many of you for your kind words over the years. And thanks, too, to those whose intelligent criticism has helped make us better.

I wish all of you, and the magazine, a bright future.