January 2002 Newsletter


Gridiron tops the $20,000 mark

Gridiron 2001: Reporters Strike Back raised about $22,000 for summer internships for want-to-be journalists.

It also gave hundreds of people a good time and aching stomachs from all the laughing Oct. 19-20 at Diamond Head Theatre.

Blame Ben. Gutierrez if "Point to the Crosswalk, Again" is stuck in your head.

Or Dan Cooke if you believe University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle wants free parking at the new UH satellite branch on Mars. Or Bill Sage, Gordon Pang, Cathy Foy and Scott Ishikawa if you know more ethics than the City Council combined.

The ensemble also performed a tribute to Adam A. "Bud" Smyser, who died in

March. They sang "Aloha, Bud" to the Budweiser tune: "When you say Budddd, Smy-ser, you’ve said it all."

Thanks to the first-rate cast:

The writers were: Ann Botticelli, Ishikawa, Cooke, Christopher Korsak, Robbie Dingeman, A. Kam Napier, Jim Doney, Derek Paiva, Patrick Downes, Pang, Jessica Perez-Mesa, Stephen Downes, Sage, Gutierrez, Janelle Saneishi, Daryl Huff, George Steele, Garett Kamemoto, Viotti and Kerr.

Gridiron emcees include: Paula Akana, KITV 4 News, Rod Antone, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Botticelli, KITV 4 News, Bill Brennan, KHON Channel 2, Burl Burlingame, Star-Bulletin, Cooke, KITV 4 News, Catherine Cruz, KITV 4 News, Justin Cruz, KQMQ-FM, Dela Cruz, MidWeek, Howard Dicus, Pacific Business News, Dingeman, Honolulu Advertiser, Denby Fawcett, KITV 4 News, Kim Gennaula, KGMB 9 News, Guy Hagi, KGMB 9 News, John Heckathorn, Honolulu Magazine, Kamemoto, KGMB 9 News, Loe, KGMB 9 News, McCoy, KGMB 9 News, Mahlon Moore, KORL-PM, Stirling Morita, Star-Bulletin, Kathy Muneno, KITV 4 News and Darren Pai KHNL, News 8.

The musical director was Emmet Yoshioka and stage manager, Donna Bebber.

Intern Applications

For information about applying for a summer internship, go to the Hawaii chapter’s Web page at http://www.flex.com/~smorita. An application will be online that can be printed.

Or contact John Black at 848-0711 or e-mail him at rainbowppub@cs.com

Or contact Craig DeSilva at 948-6838 or e-mail him at cdesilva@hotmail.com

Secrecy bills spread

Attempts at closing public access to records laws are spreading across the nation in anti-terrorist legislation.

From Florida to Washington, the message has been: Clamp down on the availability of public information.

(Hawaii will probably take up a bioterrorism bill that appears to restrict patient information the same way federal rules currently do.)


On Dec. 10, Gov. Jeb Bush signed four bills that close public records dealing with security plans and drug stockpiles.

The bills were passed during a special legislative session called to balance the state's budget, but lawmakers used it to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks. The measures prohibit public access to records on security plans of hospitals or any property owned by the state, to information on pharmaceutical supplies stockpiled to respond to terrorist attacks, and to records requests made by law enforcement agencies as part of an investigation.


Attorney General Al Lance is recommending that the state have broader authority to tap private communications and keep more government information secret to protect against potential acts of terrorism, The Associated Press reported.

The recommendations stem from a report, requested after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with 34 proposed changes to Idaho laws.


Republican legislative leaders want the state Capitol locked after business hours, issuing electronic access cards to people who work there, AP said. Background checks would be run on those getting the cards. During business hours, those without cards would be run through metal detectors, and they wouldn't have access to the building after hours. Under the proposal outlined by GOP leaders, staffers would be issued cards, as would journalists.


A Massachusetts lawmaker has proposed legislation restricting public access to potentially sensitive documents, such as blueprints for the state's bridges, tunnels and airports.

According to AP, state Rep. Paul Loscocco said the bill would close a loophole in the state's Freedom of Information Act by allowing agencies to withhold records that could jeopardize the public's "safety or security." Loscocco said that under state law, a terrorist could easily obtain copies of detailed blueprints for the Central Artery, or the exact specifications for "facial recognition" software at Logan Airport.


Gov. Gary Locke and Attorney General Christine Gregoire have proposed a draft changes to that state’s open records law.

The draft would have exempted state and local governments from obligations to disclose public documents and records when that disclosure "could advance a terrorist act ..."

While no one can argue that they want to advance a terrorist act, that standard appeared overly broad. The draft also included a high standard to challenge withholding of records: that there is no reasonable basis to conclude disclosure of the record could advance a terrorist act ..."

According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the list of information that would be exempted from current disclosure requirements, even after an event, would be: "operational instructions or any other record that pertains to the safety and security of law enforcement or other emergency response personnel; architectural, public utility or infrastructure designs collected, assembled or maintained to prepare vulnerability assessments and response plans; preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memos or other deliberative material related to domestic preparedness; emergency route information and road closure plans."

Journalists reminded of responsibilities

By Donalyn Dela Cruz

Hawaii Chapter Vice President

An estimated 400 journalists and journalism students turned out for this year's National Convention at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bellevue, Wash. The event took place during the first weekend of October and would prove to be one of the organization's most serious conventions to date.

The terrorist attacks of September 11th were still very fresh in the minds of all who attended, and sessions were altered to reflect the heavy responsibility journalists are now faced with.

Sessions dealt with the sensitivity and necessity of covering religion, military affairs and freedom of information as we tell stories of an unknown enemy. One of the most compelling panels focused the importance of the religion beat. Discussion surrounded the fact that many are ignorant to certain religious beliefs.

An example is Muslim -- is it a race or a religion? The fact is it's a religion with a sometimes negative stereotype. The panel says it is important to curb stereotypes by doing extensive research on a type of religion by attending services and by reassuring your sources that you can be trusted. The significance of this session in religion was that terrorists had been Middle Easterners, and for the most part, many ignorant Americans immediately labeled Muslims as terrorists. Hate crimes against Muslims caused violence and a great fear.

The panel reminded journalists that reporting what goes on in religious groups is imperative in helping to stop hateful stereotypes from growing. Panelists said it is also important to understand one's own religious beliefs to better understand and explain their stories on other religions.

Aside from issues surrounding the aftershock of covering the tragedy, other sessions focused on a number of complex beats such as: Covering education, elections, Internet hints, diversity, and FOI. There were also a number of student sessions that offered tips on landing the right internship.

Business meetings resulted in a new president and a new board. There were 10 races with two contested races. Delegates elected an experienced and ambitious group of men. For a look at who the SPJ leaders are, refer to the organization's Web site.

Delegates also approved resolutions that dealt with press coverage of the war on terrorism. Leaders drafted a number of resolutions as journalists expressed concern over FOI issues, specifically military affairs. The Society has since called on the Bush administration to take steps to ensure that information concerning the identities of suspected terrorists and military affairs in the war against terrorism be immediately released to journalists.

This past convention proved how the duty of the journalist is indeed a great one. Now more than ever the public is turning to news for information that must be accurate and fair.

Mark Scarp was once again elected to be regional director for Region 11, to which the Hawaii chapter belongs. Next regional conference takes place March 15-17 (starting about 3 p.m. March 15) in San Francisco in at the Golden Gateway Holiday Inn. The conference rate is $109 a night. Those interested in helping and or attending should contact the NorCal chapter president Eva Martinez (emartin@sfsu.edu). For more on the sessions, tips, and the latest in SPJ efforts go to the SPJ Web site at www.spi.org


Dates of Interest


Annual dinner honors Chapin, Smyser

This year’s annual meeting will honor Helen Geracimos Chapin, retired vice president of Hawaii Pacific University and head of its journalism department.

Chapin, also an author of a book "Shaping History -- the Role of Newspapers in Hawaii" and is writing another book. She will be inducted in the chapter Hall of Fame.

The chapter will also honor A.A. Bud Smyser, longtime editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin who died in a fall in March. He is honored for his meritorious service to journalism.

The dinner will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, with no-host beer and wine at the Imin Center at the East West Center. Dinner is a buffet from Duc’s Bistro, featuring crab and opakapaka cake, seafood paella rice. Call Bright Light Marketing at 524-6441.

Hawaii SPJ