Gene Tao, enshrined in Hall of Fame

Jan. 20, 2001

Comments by Jim Wilson of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Eugene Tao was born in China. When Gene was a youngster his family fled Communist China and went to Taiwan.

He graduated from Soochow University, Taipei in 1958. From there, he migrated to the United States and attended the University of Nevada in Reno.

Gene came to us through a conversation with AP correspondent Robert C. Miller, who had been extolled on the wonders of Gene Tao by a Nevada journalism professor and Gene's name and address was given to our news editor at that time, Hugh Clark.

Gene joined us in 1967 as a reporter covering our county government. Like any good reporter worth his salt, he was sued by one of the county councilmen. Gene won the suit brought against him by Steve Yamashiro, who was later to become our mayor.

Gene became our editor in 1985. A true journalist, his nose for news was always twitching. His dedication to the principles of good journalism is well-known by his peers. He has always encouraged and guided his staff to be a good journalist. He is the epitome of a journalist, a true believer in freedom of the press.

Gene has always affectionately been teased about his Chinese accent with the use of the English language. His use of the language often left most of us wondering what the hell he was talking about. Fortunately, he writes much better English than he speaks it.

On retirement, Gene took up golf. Playing golf with Gene has gotten to be very much in demand. Simply put, because it's so entertaining. Gene's first round of golf, his score was a gross 225. I haven't asked recently to see if he has broken 200 yet.

We are very proud of Gene and the fact he is being inducted into the SPJ Hall of Fame.

The week our company, Donrey Media, presented a $35,000 check to the University of Hawaii foundation to establish an endowment fund for a perpetual journalism scholarship program in Eugene Tao's name. The yearly scholarship will include a summer internship at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald as well as a monetary award.

We wish the very best in your retirement.

Photo by Ian Lind

Hall of Fame

Hawaii SPJ