Cutting Out The Heart -- The Star-Advertiser Layoffs
by Stan Fichtman, Politics Hawaii, June 13, 2020
The Tsunami of media cutbacks and layoffs that have affected media outlets on the mainland, has arrived on Hawaii’s shore.
On Friday, June 12th, word got out announcing that 29 staff members at the Star-Advertiser, the largest newspaper in the state, are losing their jobs at the end of the month. The person that made the initial announcement, reporter, Kristen Consillio, posted the news on her Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Other sources, like Ian Lind and the television news outlets, along with industry-focused publications also reported on the layoffs from different perspectives.
In a list of names obtained, I recognized several reporters and staff members that were affected by this announcement.
At least three of them, I worked with during my time at Pacific Business News (PBN) as it’s Research Director. Each of them has at least, if not over, 20 years of journalistic experience.
Some of the names have even more. Veteran columnist Lee Cataluna, whom I remember as a reporter when KHNL still had a stand-alone news station, was also let go. Rob Perez, an investigative reporter for the paper that has covered key stories like the Kealoha trial, is also on the list.
In reporting the layoffs, the effect of this on the veracity of the news was said best by Kristen:
“That means fewer journalists keeping the ‘powers that be’ in check, less questioning of authority, fewer answers to your burning questions and even more substandard information disseminated to the public,”
Kristen Consillio, Facebook post 6-12-2020
And right now, as a conclusion, keeping “the powers that be” in check, with what they continue to do with the state during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, is more important now more than ever.