By David Lichtenstein
Editor/Publisher, The Molokai News
Today, The Molokai News begins a new experiment in commercial journalism. The blog has been running local news stories five times a week since 2009 and now needs your support to continue and expand its coverage.
Under this new advertising program, The Molokai News will return 70 percent of all ad revenue to local writers, photographers and videographers who have an eye, and ear, for storytelling. For every $50 raised, The Molokai News will be able to devote time and resources to develop a new in-depth local story.
Local news needs local sources. While it is nice to see the occasional Molokai feature or sports story in The Maui News or the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, I would much rather read a story about Molokai written by somebody who actually lives on the island. (Kudos to the Honolulu Civil Beat — www. civilbeat.com — for hiring Molokai resident and veteran journalist P.F. Bentley to offer an alternative perspective to Oahu-centric reporting.)
The purpose of The Molokai News is simple: to provide timely news and opinions written by local sources that will stimulate a community conversation on important and interesting local issues.
I am now reaching out to the Molokai community to help The Molokai News fulfill this vision through a new advertising and sponsorship program. (Click here to see “Advertising specs and Rates”.) The first 10 businesses, organizations or individuals who respond to this program will receive a free home page ad, valued at $25, for the first month.
For those non-advertisers who wish to support The Molokai News, become a “Friend of The Molokai News” with small, regular donations. All donations can be mailed to: DL Enterprises, Inc. (parent company to The Molokai News), P.O. Box 482157, Kaunakakai, HI 96748. Mahalo!
Does Molokai need The Molokai News?
We all know that Molokai already has a printed weekly newspaper. The Molokai Dispatch does a fine job of providing local news. Editor Catherine Cluett has helped improve the content of the newspaper over the past few years. As Molokai’s only newspaper, the Dispatch plays a vital role in the community, offering breaking and feature news, classified and display advertising, and community contributed stories, letters and editorials. For many people on Molokai who do not have adequate broadband Internet access, the Dispatch provides an essential link to the outside world.
But one source of news cannot be all things for all people. Occasionally, The Molokai Dispatch misses a story that The Molokai News catches, or visa versa. Often an important Molokai event gets covered by both local media outlets and the two stories offer slightly different details or perspectives. This leads to a more educated and informed community, something we can all agree is a good thing.
We need more than once news source on Molokai. These are some other reasons:
Meetings happen every day on Molokai. How else can we talk story on key issues? The people of Molokai love to get together and kukakuka on important matters. Question: How can we open up these vital conversations to the whole island even after the closing pule? We need more sources and more ways to join the conversation.
The Molokai News is a news blog designed to promote conversation on important issues, not just produce individual and isolated stories. Stories on the big issues for Molokai (sustainability, GMO farming, protecting the ‘aina, renewable energy, schools, health and wellness, Kalaupapa, etc.) always include active links to previous related stories. In this way, a story filled with factual information does not die a few days after being published. By linking stories together, the reader receives a more complete context to understand issues that have long-range impact.
Promoting a lively dialogue on community issues is essential to maintaining a healthy and informed populace. As of today, 1,695 separate comments have been written on stories published on The Molokai News. Stories on The Molokai News have been viewed more than 312,000 times since its inception in July of 2009!
Changes for The Molokai News
With improved service I fully expect these numbers will grow. Some of the new services I hope to offer include:
• More in-depth, investigative reporting. Quality research on difficult and complex issues requires time and resources.
• A weekly newsletter offering a “Week in Review” of the top stories to all who subscribe.
• A daily calendar of events. Updated regularly, this free community service will include the time, place and details for local happenings.
• More video. The Molokai News now has a viewer that can display videos on its home page.
• More photos. Slideshows and photo galleries will display more photos from events than can be posted on individual stories. As a journalist in Colorado for over 20 years, I received two awards for my photography from The Colorado Press Association. I hope to share even more photos in a large format display.
The Molokai News cannot survive and improve its service without support from the Molokai community. After many battles with learning html computer code, I have finally figured out how to properly place display ads that will link to any website or home page. I hope to add even more features as my knowledge of html grows.
I am excited about these new changes and am looking forward to hearing feedback from the many readers of The Molokai News. With your ideas and comments I can make the kinds of changes that the community really wants and needs.
I look forward to this new chapter in The Molokai News. Please call (658-5181) or write (firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime with your thoughts and ideas. Can’t wait to hear from everyone!
A Hui Hou!
The Molokai News