We’re committed to community journalism
Earlier this month, we were proud to inform our readers that The Maui News has been recognized for quality newspaper service to our communities. That came in the form of our publication receiving 21 awards in the annual Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter Excellence in Journalism contest.
Our newsroom staffers were honored in multiple categories. We received awards for news, feature and sports stories, for photography and column writing.
At a time when newspapers everywhere are changing the way they do business in an effort to better serve both their print and digital readers, how’d we pull off the big win?
Simple: We stuck with what works. Since The Maui News was published first in 1900, it has been clear to generations of newspaper people here that the secret to success isn’t at all complicated. It requires skilled, experienced, dedicated journalists who live in and are engaged in our communities.
And we are engaged — because we, too, live here and work here. We are part of the communities we serve. This is the place we call home.
We know the people about whom we report — many of them are our neighbors. We live in the places affected by the news we report. What is good for our town, our island and our state is good for us.
And if there is a threat to our communities, we take it seriously and personally.
We care, in short.
No one else does it better. No one else devotes the resources we do to local news. No one else fields as many reporters covering as much local news. No one else stands up for local people as energetically as we do on our editorial pages.
We at The Maui News have adapted and learned — like so many around the world in these COVID-19 times — that a lot of work can be done from home or really from anywhere, but we also have reaffirmed our belief and commitment that the way to cover Maui and or other communities is by having our reporters, photographers, and other contributors walking, talking, listening and asking questions all across Maui.
As publisher of the newspaper, I am impressed day in and day out by the dedication our newsroom people have to doing their jobs to the best of their substantial abilities. Again, all of us at The Maui News do our best because we live here. What’s good for our communities is good for us as a newspaper — and for all of us who work at the paper.
It’s human nature to enjoy pats on the back, especially when they come from other people who are aware of the importance of sustainable community journalism. So, yes, we are proud of the awards we’ve received.
Their significance pales in comparison to the pride we take in having a positive impact on our communities and state, however. Quite a bit of what we pat ourselves on the back for isn’t the flashy kind of stuff that wins journalism awards. It’s the routine kind of coverage — big issues at city council meetings, stories about kids excelling athletically and academically, editorials about what’s good for neighborhoods — that matters to local people.
It matters to us, too, simply because we live here and want only the best for our communities. That’s been our formula for success for generations, and we plan to continue adhering to it.
We are your local newspaper. And we are proud that we can continue to serve you, our readers, and our communities.
* Bart Leath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.