I don’t miss going to Council meetings, except every now and then the newspaper reports on something downright weird that happens there, like Chair Kaipo Asing’s comment that a quote pertaining to high diabetes rates among Native Hawaiians was racist.
But even weirder was Thomas Noyes — aka Mr. Path, and the treasurer of Councilman Tim Bynum’s re-election campaign — claiming that Kaipo’s comment “may have been an indirect attack on Bynum’s bid for re-election.”
As the song lyrics go: “paranoia, it strikes deep….”
I was also interested to read the comments left in response to yesterday’s article on the recent Green Harvest operation. They were almost entirely opposed to Green Harvest, which was correctly viewed as a waste of time and money. One person summed it up:
My guess is way more California-grown weed is smoked on every public school furlough day than Green Harvest nets in a month.
And I was pleased to get an email from former TGI reporter Michael Levine announcing that Peer News, renamed to Honolulu Civil Beat, had officially launched. I’ve been curious about this new adventure in journalism, so I followed one of the links he provided, which was supposed to provide a “free preview.”
It did — two paragraphs worth. But to read the rest, I had to either join, at the special rate of 99 cents for two weeks, or sign in with my pay pal account. I checked out the sign in and felt uncertain. If I logged in, would I be charged without realizing it and then have to go back in there and cancel to avoid future charges?
It just seemed humbug and slow, and so I didn’t bother, especially since I wasn’t even sure I was especially interested in stories about Honolulu’s homeless and the rail project. I understand they want to make money, but it seems to me that when you’re starting out, you might want to offer access for free (without any registration process that links to one’s bank account) to build interest and readership, and then if it’s worth it, folks might want to pay to stick around.
I’d like to see an alternative approach to news gathering and reporting succeed, but this "gateway approach," which Larry Geller’s expands on at some length at Disappeared News is a bit off-putting.
And then there’s the Honolulu-centric coverage. The big dailies, now about to become a big daily, have already cut off their coverage of what Oahu folks like to call the Neighbor Islands. It’s too bad that we’re again being shut out.
I’d also like to see a bit more personality shine through from Civil Beat’s “reporter hosts.” The stories are edited to create a sameness in tone that feels too bland and safe for something as electric and eclectic as the Internet.
I wonder as well how they’re going to maintain content worthy of $20 per month (the regular price) with just six reporters. It ain’t easy to crank out thoughtful pieces and interact with commenters, and frankly, most reporters aren’t used to working that hard.
But as the editor says, it’s just the beginning, so I’ll check back every now and see what’s happening, mostly because I like Mike and am interested in what he's up to.
Finally, as a friend who is visiting, and was reviewing stuff on his I-phone as I typed away on my blog, noted:
"It's funny how much of life is virtual these days."