April 2002 Newsletter

Gridiron 2002 set for Oct. 25-26

Please save Oct. 25-26 for Gridiron 2002: Photo Enforced.

The musical parody of the year’s events will return to Diamond Head Theatre with much of the same cast as last year’s. Producer/coordinator Keoki Kerr has his group of talented writers working on this year’s lyrics.

Join SPJ now and save up to $40 on Gridiron tickets.

If you have any songs or want to be part of the cast, contact Kerr at 535-0463.

SPJ summer internships awarded

Proceeds from Gridiron 2001: Reporters Strike Back helped fund full-time and fully funded part-time internships this year.

Here are the summer internships awarded so far for 2002:

Part-time interships to:

Diversity is theme of regional

By Emily Viglielmo

SPJ Chapter Director

The overall theme of the three-day SPJ Region 11 conference was diversity: how to increase the representation of minorities in the media not only as sources, but as people covering the news.

The media coverage of the events of Sept. 11 was also discussed by most of the speakers. It was held March 15-17 in San Francisco.

One of the panel speakers for discussion on "Looking through the Lens of Diversity in Everyday Reporting" was Dara Williams, an Asian-American married to a Caucasian. She is the director of News Watch, a project that is a clearinghouse of information on diversity in the news.

Williams spoke about the Los Angeles riots of 1992. According to Williams, most of those affected by the riots were Latinos. Most of those arrested for looting were Latinos, but Latinos also owned most of the small stores that were robbed in South-Central L.A.

The other panelist was Dori Maynard, an African-American. Maynard is the president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Before being named president in January 2001, she directed the history project which leads the way in preserving and protecting the contributions of journalists of color.

She recalled an argument with a colleague who believed that "Rodney King got what he deserved. The goal is understanding each other, but not agreeing."

She said the issue of ebonics "was actually a question of class, not race."

Maynard said she would like to learn more about Asian-American issues.

She also directs the Fault Lines project, a framework that helps journalists more accurately cover their communities.

Sandy Close was the keynote speaker at the awards luncheon on Saturday. After graduating from UC Berkeley in the 1960s, Close went to Hong Kong and worked as the China editor for the Far Eastern Economic Review. Close founded YO! (Youth Outlook) in 1991 to showcase the writings of youths of color. In 1996, she co-founded "The Beat Within," a weekly newsletter of writings by incarcerated youth.

The recent rise of the ethnic media "is meant to connect the disconnect," Close said. "The ethnic media get it. They are advocates for communities that feel intense isolation. Our media haven’t yet acknowledged that there’s a problem."

She said in Orange County Calif., there are 30 Vietnamese newspapers.

Sunday morning began with the session entitled "Delving into the Diversity Toolbox." Sally Lehrman, an independent journalist, led the workshop. Lehrman was a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner and currently serves as the SPJ national diversity chair.

Lehrman passed around a handout with only photos on it and participants were asked to guess the occupation of each person in each photo. It really demonstrated how important it was to not judge a book by its cover.

The speaker for the final session was David Cook, better know as Davey D. Davey D. is an African-American hip hop historian and journalist and former deejay of KMEL in Oakland, a predominantly African-American station.

Davey D. said he was laid off from KMEL after Sept. 11 when he and others in the African-American community voiced opposition to the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan. He claimed that owners of the station were close friends of the Bush family.

The speaker at the opening session Saturday morning was David Moats. Moats is the editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald in Vermont. He won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing for a series of articles on the adoption of a Vermont law providing for the civil union of gay and lesbian couples. Moats wrote in support of the law.

"It was a bold and correct ruling," he said.

Moats said he was aware that gays and lesbians and their supporters had attempted to have a similar law passed in Hawaii and had read about the Alliance for Traditional Marriage.

Moats had spent several years in Afghanistan in the late’60s and early ’70s. He said that since Sept. 11, he has written several editorials about his experiences in Afghanistan.

"I was more concerned about putting a face on the ordinary Afghan people," he said. "It’s essential to give our editorials a human dimension. I was not concerned with writing a critique of American imperialism.

Saturday afternoon, Tom Hallman of The Oregonian gave his presentation. Hallman won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2001. It was awarded for his profile of a disfigured 14-year-old boy who elects to have a life-threatening surgery in an effort to improve his appearance.

He described his career as "very average, nothing glamorous. I wasn’t a Columbia graduate. I was fired from my first job. No one would have thought that I would win a regional award, let alone the Pulitzer."

He continued, "I had to learn how to be a good reporter. Art comes from assembling details. You find that emotion and find out how to report that emotion so someone feels something when they read it. If it moves you, it’s probably going to move someone else."

Hallman stressed that "writing has to be the reward, not the plaques on the wall."

Another Saturday afternoon session was entitled "Covering Disasters." MSNBC’s Marty Wolk described how he was in the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11.

"I was in the grand ballroom of the Marriott Hotel, attending a conference of the National Association of Business Economists when the crystal chandeliers shook, there was a loud bang and the floor shook. Everyone ran out — there were people screaming everywhere," he said. "It was hard to describe the atmosphere on the streets of New York that day. It was like the end of the world."

He was able to make it to his brother’s office in Greenwich Village where he filed his first eyewitness account of the tragedy.

He openly discussed his own emotional turmoil. "I felt like a piece of my heart had been ripped out. In the days that followed, the tears came often and without warning."

After the tragedy, he attempted to return to his home in Seattle using ground transportation. "Uniformed Amtrak representatives were besieged by people trying to figure out how to book travel to Boston, Washington and California." He wrote a scrapbook of impressions from his weeklong journey by car and train.

Hawaii’s news media rich in diversity

By Helen Chapin

SPJ Chapter Member

I want to express my thanks and surprise at being chosen by SPJ to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. It is an honor to join the ranks of David Shapiro, Gene Tao and Bud Smyser.

When I learned of this honor, I asked myself what paths brought me here tonight. Then I knew. They are journalism and history.

First, journalism. Like many of you, I worked on junior and high school newspapers. My first job out of high school was with a newspaper -- the old Hilo Tribune-Herald for $50 a month. As general flunky it was a great job and I felt very lucky to have it. I got to drive to the receiving station on Haili hill to pick up the wireless teletypes, and then drive them back downtown to the Tribune-Herald plant. This was heady stuff for a 17-year-old. When Mrs. Fernandez, society editor, was on vacation, I wrote society news. When the proof reader took time off, I read proof. I also organized the morgue and brought (later) editor Ray Yuen his lunch. Next I attended the University of Hawaii, worked on Ka Leo, became editor and then a stringer and feature writer for the Advertiser. But life, as

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, is not a straight line but a zigzag path. I moved away from Hawaii and upon returning found that the Advertiser only had an opening on the night shift. This wouldn't work because by this time I had two small daughters. So it was back to school to finish a B.A. and M.A, then again went to the mainland where I earned a doctorate in English at Ohio State and taught at several colleges before returning to the Islands for good in 1978 with my husband Hank Chapin.

Second, History. You'll remember this was a time of "roots" and ethnic

identity. My roots are in the Greeks of Hawaii. My forefathers and mothers came 10,000 miles around the world to settle in these remote Islands, and in my childhood they recounted lots of folk tales and oral stories. But I wanted the facts and found these in the 19th and 20th century newspapers and wrote them up for the Hawaiian Journal of History.

Along the way I just started reading the newspapers for their own sake, which led to Shaping History: The Role of Newspapers in Hawaiian History (UH Press, 1996). It took eight years to write, but Sandy Zalburg made me feel better when he said it took him 10 years to write that fine book, A Spark Is Struck: Jack Hall and the ILWU.

Shaping History has a simple thesis, which you all know: The newspapers record history and make or shape it at the same time. Hawaii's journalism history is remarkable, however. The missionaries introduced a newspaper print technology with Ka Lama (The Light), in Hawaiian in 1836. The Sandwich Island Gazette and Journal of Commerce appeared in English in 1836. An inspiring story is the rise of a Hawaiian Nationalist press in 1861, reaching its height in the 1890s. Less inspiring stories include feuds, press wars, libel charges and theft. In the days when newsprint took six months to arrive from Boston or New York, newspapermen would race down to the wharves and appropriate any consignments they could. There was even a murder -- that of a newsman, not over a news issue, but for fooling around with another man's wife. Some things never seem to change.

The rise of an Ethnic press is particularly noteworthy: Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, African American, Jewish, and others down to the present day Vietnamese. In the 1920s, when the Territory tried to shut down the Japanese language schools, Frederick Makino, Hawaii Hochi editor, fought the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and won.

Other fine stories include the Star-Bulletin's steady fight against the military government's censorship of all newspapers during World War II. After the war ended the laws were declared unconstitutional, and the Bulletin was vindicated. In the 1950s, Bud Smyser, Star-Bulletin editor

whom we are honoring here tonight, unrelentingly fought for Statehood. In the 1960s, the Advertiser battled to save Diamond Head from high-rise development.

Four years after Shaping History, I finished A Guide to Newspapers of Hawaii 1834-2000, published by the Hawaiian Historical Society in 2000. In it are 1,250 separate titles (including a few news