First, she feeds us this crock: “Local ownership with local sensibilities is a positive step for us, keeping money circulating in Hawai‘i and not going out of state.”
Uhhh, last I looked Oahu Publishing Inc. (OPI) is owned by David Black, of Black Press Ltd., a Canadian-based newspaper company.
Then she writes: “Another reporter will also be added initially, and we expect more growth.” But they just laid off business reporter Laurie Cicotello, assistant editor Tom Finnegan and another editorial staffer. So even if they hire one more reporter, they're still down two.
I know it's a sensitive point, because the OPI bigwigs actually stopped the presses 45 minutes into the press run — something you do only if the president has been shot or find a racial slur in a headline — to revise the “Kauai loses last press” story written by Léo Azambuja. It seems they feared people would think the quality of the paper was declining if they read the truth: that three editorial staffers had been axed. So they just conveniently edited that part out.
That's why it's just a little bit hard to believe Casey when she writes, (emphasis added):
“OPI is committed to assuring The Garden Island remains a functioning, independent daily newspaper.”
Then she gives us this: Another positive for the entire community is OPI’s commitment to community philanthropy.
Mmmm, yeah, that's great, except what about the 25 people in our community who lost their jobs, jobs that some had held for over a decade, because OPI essentially outsourced their work to Honolulu?
Oh, and just to show you what kind of people they are, they didn't call in the folks who were being terminated and tell them they didn't have a job. No, they let them sit there all day as the people who were retained were told they did have jobs. Come 5 p.m., when the management went home, it became clear to those left sitting that they were no longer employed.
We would all love to see TGI become a better paper. But it ain't gonna happen, Casey, by stuffing it with Kmart inserts, filler from Honolulu, a weekly business feature from the Wall Street Journal (wtf?) and crisp photos from OPI's "modern marvel" of a press — the one they're using to systematically stifle independent presses around the state.
No, Casey, it will require investing in quality reporting staff, and keeping your mitts off them — yes, we know you're a daily presence in the newsroom, where publishers should not be — so they can do their job.
Though I am a perennial optimist, I don't see that happening.
Because David Black didn't buy TGI to beef it up, but to bleed it.