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Uechi named Maui News managing editor

Longtime editor Lee Imada leaves after nearly 40 years

COLLEEN UECHI — Named managing editor

Assistant City Editor Colleen Uechi has been promoted to managing editor of The Maui News following the departure of longtime editor Lee Imada, the company announced Friday.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Maui community for letting me tell your stories and to The Maui News for this opportunity,” Uechi said Friday. “Growing up in Hawaii and working in small communities has taught me the importance of reliable local journalism, and I think it’s something we need now more than ever.”

Uechi joined The Maui News in December 2015 after a yearlong internship and staff writer job with The Molokai Dispatch.

Originally from Oahu, Uechi graduated from Hawaiian Mission Academy in Honolulu and went on to study intercultural communications and Spanish at Pacific Union College in California.

Following her graduation in 2013, she taught English for five months in Kazakhstan and worked briefly at Barnes & Noble on Oahu before landing an internship with the Dispatch, where she covered local news and sports.

LEE IMADA — Leaving after 40 years

Uechi has won multiple Society of Professional Journalism awards for her work at both the Dispatch and The Maui News.

“Colleen is an excellent choice as managing editor,” said Imada, the outgoing managing editor. “She will ably carry the torch that I was handed from David Hoff, who received the flame from Earl Tanaka. She brings a steady hand and top notch reporting and editing skills in the best traditions of The Maui News.”

Imada joined The Maui News as a sports intern shortly after his graduation from Maui High. As a student at Northwestern University, he returned home during the summers to work at the newspaper before being hired permanently in 1981. Imada covered the police, courts, education and Haleakala National Park beats and designed pages for a decade until he was promoted to assistant news editor in 1991 and then news editor the following year.

He held the role of managing editor from 2012 until his departure earlier this month.

“After nearly four decades being part of The Maui News reporting team, I felt that it was time to depart and leave the coverage of Maui County happenings to a younger, more energetic crew,” Imada said. “Though reduced in number, the reporters, editors, page designers, sports team and photographer Matthew Thayer are more than capable of continuing the more than centurylong tradition of bringing residents information that they can use, need and want to know and that touches the pulse of the community.”

Maui News Publisher Chris Minford said Friday that Uechi would carry on the work that Imada started.

“Colleen was mentored by former managing editor Lee Imada, and he has prepared her well to carry on the award-winning journalism at The Maui News,” Minford said. “We thank Lee for his years of service and contribution and look forward to the ideas and energy Colleen brings to the table.”

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