December 2020 Newsletter

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University of Hawaii Journalism Degree Program is saved from budget ax

UH-Manoa provost will retain the Journalism Program within a revamped School of Communications

University of Hawaii at Manoa officials have scrapped a proposal to eliminate the only journalism degree program in the state.

Emails from journalism program grads and Hawaii Professional Chapter members persuaded UH Manoa Provost Michael Bruno to back a revitalized Journalism program, and details are being worked out.

Bruno said the Journalism degree program will remain, within a newly organized school.

Department Chairman Colin Moore said: "I think you can share the good news with SPJ and tell them that their letters worked! And that we don't need them to send any additional letters."

The chapter submitted letters to the regents, Bruno and UH President David Lassner, saying the program is valuable and should be retained.

"UH Journalism has prepared students for internships and jobs. Almost all local news media operations - big and small - have UH Journalism graduates on staff. The provost's proposal would cripple the program just as enrollment is increasing. There are currently 61 UH Journalism graduates on staff at local media outlets," the chapter said in a letter.

The chapter counted UH journalism grads in the business and found at least 61 - including outgoing PBS Hawaii President Leslie Wilcox, Star-Advertiser Editorial Page Editor Lucy Young Oda, KHON News Director Lori Silva and Hawaii News Now Assignment Editor Brenda Salgado.

National SPJ Ethis chairwoman says MidWeek article apparently violated ethics code

In July, MidWeek ran a double-truck cover story on Honolulu mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya.

It appeared like a regular news story, but it was a paid advertisement.

The Hawaii Professional Chapter complained that the article did not have the proper disclosure that it was an ad under the Society of Professional Journalists' Ethics Code

The chairwoman of the SPJ Ethics Committee agreed:

Chair Lynn Walsh, also former national SPJ president, said in an email: "If content is sponsored or advertising, it should be labeled as such. Those labels should be clear and come at the beginning of the story, not at the end. In this case, if I was a reader, I would not know this story was a paid advertisement. It looks like a regular news story. There is not a clear differentiation until the very end. Not all users are going to read until the end and if they don't read until the end, they would miss the note that says it was an advertisement. What would be better, is there was some sort of label on the headline or at the top of the story. If we do not clearly label content as sponsored or as advertising, we are deceiving our users and our communities."

The SPJ Ethics Code says: "Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content."

The chapter said in a letter to Publisher Dennis Francis and other MidWeek officials that the ethics code helps ensure public confidence in the news media.


On Dec. 17, the Hawaii Chapter SP will conduct a short meeting to take nominations for the 2021 Board.

At noon, you may go to the Zoom link you should receive by email. Not there? Contact Stirling Morita at


The Office of Information Practices is proposing that the state continue virtual meetings of boards and commissions even after the pandemic ends.

Virtual meetings were held to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19. But Civil Beat Law Center noted that public participation in government meetings actually zoomed up, and the state said cost savings more than offset the technological costs.

Garett H. Kamemoto


Garett H. Kamemoto was the heartbeat of the chapter's Gridiron show, not just because he was so funny but also because he was so dedicated.

"As many of you know, he routinely wrote about 20 to 25 percent of most shows, with witty and savvy parodies of tunes from Broadway to classic hula to hip hop. He wrangled the video, the lyric books, helped shape the show with creative production ideas, wrangled all of us with that dry sardonic tone of his, while entertaining us and our kids, constructing a prop or two, sharing his latest poke find. In between, he might be fielding a work call or two, since he seemed to constantly be assigned to two or three jobs at once," said Gridiron co-artistic director Robbie Dingeman.

Garett passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 6, at the age of 54 after a brief illness at Pali Momi Medical Center. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism.

For three decades, he worked as a journalist. In news, he wrote about politics and other statewide news, as a reporter and editor, later working in public relations. His career took him to KHVH Newsradio 99, KGMB-9, KHNL-TV, Communications Pacific, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

Garett enjoyed traveling to Japan and Las Vegas and attended the UH football and men's basketball games.

Garett is survived by parents, Fred and Alice; and siblings, Kenneth and Janice. The family requests privacy. No public services are scheduled because of COVID restrictions. For questions, concerns, complaints or to share memories, please email

Garett could do and did almost anything for Gridiron and Hawaii Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kamemoto was talented and could also edit video footage into a comprehensive package as he did every two years for the Gridiron show. For many years, he put together the awards video, putting the wow in the chapter's contest dinner.

"Garett threw himself into Gridiron the way he went headfirst into journalism. He's made a big difference with his reporting, his mentoring, his tireless work for SPJ and Gridiron, and for so many of us, as our brilliant, quirky, indispensable friend," Dingeman said.

Gridiron co-artistic director Keoki Kerr said: "But you may be less familiar with his successful reporting career from the late 1980s through the early 2000s at KHVH Newsradio 99 and then KGMB-TV. For instance, he was one of only a handful of TV reporters on Kauai covering Hurricane Iniki as it struck the island in 1992.

"He was a skilled state government reporter who broke many stories at the state Capitol. He also had numerous exclusives about the Bishop Estate scandals of the late 1990s, serving as a researcher/consultant to '60 Minutes' for its national piece on the estate's troubles."

Garett was active in the Hawaii Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and for the last 18 years was a writer for Gridiron Hawaii, the fundraiser that pay for internships for college journalism students who work for local media organizations. He also supported the educational efforts of PBS Hawaii. If you are so inclined, donations can be sent to either of these two organizations in honor of the deceased. Please note that the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter is a 501(c)(6) and donations are not tax-deductible. Checks can be sent to Hawaii Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists at PO Box 3141, Honolulu, HI 96802. PBS Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) and donations are tax-deductible. Checks can be sent to PBS Hawaii at PO Box 29606, Honolulu, HI 96820-2006.

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