HONOLULU Wins 16 Local and National Awards for 2022

Including one that is particularly meaningful for our team’s former publisher.


Hm Spj Awards 2023 1

HONOLULU took home 13 awards at the recent Excellence in Journalism contest. Photo: Thomas Obungen


Summer is awards season for us, with the City & Regional Magazine Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai‘i Chapter giving out acknowledgements for work done in 2022.


2022 feels so long ago, especially as the HONOLULU team is already discussing projects we’d like to work on for 2024. Some of the winning stories were actually conceptualized in 2021, when we were still unsure of the long-term effects of the pandemic and making our best guesses of what you’d want, and deserve, to read in the coming months. It’s always a challenge to come up with something great—not to mention everything it takes behind the scenes to put together each issue (in this economy?). It can be hard work, but that’s why it feels so rewarding to announce that HONOLULU Magazine recently took home both national and local awards.


Our small local team of dedicated editors strives to tell stories we’re passionate about sharing, whether that’s by writing features, producing videos or thoughtfully designing a print magazine you can actually hold in your hands. And we love what we do. We hope you love it, too. Please join us in celebrating what judges around the country have deemed some of our best work last year by revisiting them below.


City and Regional Magazine Association

CRMA is a national association with 72 members, from Washington state to Washington, D.C. Awards were announced June 5 during CRMA’s annual conference, held in Baltimore, Maryland.


Multiplatform Storytelling

Seeking Happiness Headline


HONOLULU took first place with our November 2022 package, “Seeking Happiness.” The press release of the announcement praised its “rich reporting and storytelling, strong characters and the perfect use of web, print and video platforms.” The judges said: “A balance of high-quality storytelling and reporting effort are visible among web, print and video platforms. The written and visual vignettes, and the characters depicted in them, exude raw human emotion that demands the attention of its audience.” Find all the stories and videos here.




Eddie Ayau 1

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Martha Cheng’s story on Edward Healoha Ayau, “Bone By Bone,” was named a finalist in the Profile category alongside the work of other magazines with a similar circulation size. The judges said: “The return and reburial of Native Hawaiian bones is a complicated subject and Eddie Ayau, who has spent three decades bringing his ancestors home, is a complicated man. Author Martha Cheng’s probing examination of Ayau’s penchant for controversy offers a compelling portrait.” Read it here.


Milton W. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award


Scott Schumaker

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Each year, the CRMA honors a person or business that has greatly contributed to the industry. The honoree this year was our very own Scott Schumaker, who served as publisher until he retired earlier this year. The award is particularly meaningful, as it marks only the second time that it has been presented to a Hawai‘i publisher. It’s fitting and full circle that the former owner/publisher of HONOLULU Magazine, Dave Pellegrin, was the first publisher to receive this award. Read more about Scott’s decadeslong media career here.


For the full list of winners, go to citymag.org.



Society of Professional Journalists Hawai‘i Chapter

On July 18, winners of the Hawai‘i SPJ Excellence in Journalism Contest were announced in person at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i for the first time since 2019. Entries were judged by the SPJ chapters from East Tennessee and Greater Cincinnati. HONOLULU took home awards in the All Media, Internet and Magazine categories.


All Media

Column Writing or Blog/Features or Sports

Second Place. Afterthoughts, by James Charisma


Health Reporting

Third Place. “Subject to Change,” by Robbie Dingeman, May 2022

Judge’s comments: “Very well done and interesting overview of mental health issues, treatment and solutions on how to provide more services to more people. Nice work!”


Feature Photography/Videography


Sxy Szechuan Whole Fish

Whole roasted fish from SXY Szechuan. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Second Place. “44 Insanely Good Dishes,” photography by Aaron K. Yoshino, June 2022

Judge’s comments: “The food looks great. The photographs make it look spectacular. Good lighting. Good staging. Terrific!”


Best Explanatory Journalism

Second Place.Ola i ka Wai: Water is Life,” by Robbie Dingeman, October 2022

Judge’s comments: “Clean drinking water is a basic resource that is being threatened in Hawai‘i. Not only does this report lay out the problems, but focuses on solutions of how to solve them. Nicely done.”


Special Section

Second Place. “Seeking Happiness,” by the HONOLULU Magazine Team, November 2022

Judge’s comments: “Very interesting and out-of-the box compilation about a topic that’s elusive for so many people. Loved the individual profiles on the various ways people find happiness—particularly the cancer patient who won’t give up on life.”



Best Multimedia Presentation



Third Place. “Seeking Happiness,” by the HONOLULU Magazine Team, November 2022

Judge’s comments: “Beautifully shot short vignettes of the seven people in this ‘Happiness’ package. A lot of effort went into each of these and it shows in every way.”



Industry or Trade Reporting

Second Place. Food & Dining, by Martha Cheng:

Judge’s comments: “Really good reporting and writing on the food scene in Hawai‘i. It’s always smart to focus on the people behind the food while also showing amazing food photography.”



First Place. “Bone By Bone,” by Martha Cheng, June 2022

Judge’s comments: “Excellent access to the main subject and his allies and detractors. Tough subject, but you did a great job focusing on Ayau’s humanity throughout this story. You also did a great job balancing the different viewpoints without taking a side, though you clearly respect Ayau.”


Feature Writing/Short Form

First Place. “Honolulu City Signs,” by Robbie Dingeman, February 2022

Judge’s comments: “What a lovely little read this was! This story is interesting, well-sourced, features compelling quotes, and shows some good storytelling flair. My favorite line, about the vintage sign from the Hubba Hubba strip club, demonstrates that flair: ‘The dancer remains—although her light isn’t always on—but the kicks stopped when the club closed.’ Nicely done!”


Body of Work- Single Writer

Second Place. Robbie Dingeman:

Judge’s comments: “An amazing variety of writing that provides a real window into daily life in Hawai‘i. Her ‘Reviving Downtown and Chinatown’ piece is one of the best stories I’ve read about how a city struggles with fallout from the pandemic.”


Overall Page Design


Sour Poi 2021 Opener


First Place. Design by James Nakamura, Christine Labrador, Kayla Rivera

Judge’s comments: “Love the variety of design elements in the cover packages and the feature well, along with the consistency across sections and departments from issue to issue. Really nice work!”


Best Single Feature Layout


We Belong Opener


First Place. “We Belong,” design by Christine Labrador, photography by Harold Julian, styling by Stacey Makiya

Judge’s comments: “Wow. Wonderful use of photography and cohesive design elements. Close winner in a very competitive category.”


Magazine Cover


Scott Schumaker


Second Place. “Who Gets the Family Home?” photography by Aaron K. Yoshino, design by James Nakamura, May 2022

Judge’s comments: “Appreciate the work that went in to making this small house and the environment. Really solidifies the headline and story angle.”


Congratulations are also due for our sister magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine, which took home 20 SPJ awards. For the full list of winners, visit hawaiispj.org.