Bucking A Trend With Good News

Don Chapman
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July 01, 2009
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Although MidWeek is one of the rare newspapers in the U.S. to increase readership in the past year of economic doom and gloom - a total of nearly 500,000 readers, up (according to well-respected Scarborough Research) a whopping 20,000 adults, thank you very much - we’re not about to sit on our laurels. Not even as we prepare to celebrate our 25th anniversary next month. (Besides, I’ve heard laurels are not all that comfortable to sit on.)

So in the interest of continuing to give our readers fresh content, while also giving back to our community, with this issue we’re introducing a new feature, one that is uniquely MidWeek - which is already known for publishing “good news.”

It’s called Proof Positive. In conjunction with Clear Channel Radio (KSSK, etc.), every week we’re inviting an Island charitable organization to share its story, and the stories of people who have been helped.

This week it’s the Partners In Development Foundation, which focuses on “meeting today’s social, educational and environmental challenges through the application of Hawaii’s values and traditional practices.” It includes a great program that brings seniors to schools to interact with kids - something I believe is good for both kupuna and keiki, and for our whole community.

In addition, each week on the same page we’re offering free advertising space to another Hawaii nonprofit.

Also sharing space on the page is our popular Good Neighbor feature, which every week highlights exceptional volunteers in our town. Close by you’ll find Pamela Young’s Applause column, which salutes regular folks coming to the aid of total strangers in times of stress, and worse - it happens every day in Hawaii.

Good stories about good people doing good things and producing good results that’s Proof Positive, and you’ll find it only in MidWeek (page 41).

And I must say that in these days when papers from the New York Times to the L.A. Times are losing readers and money, with papers in Seattle and Denver shuttering after 150 years of publishing, and San Francisco on the verge of not having a daily paper, big kudos go to our president Dennis Francis and publisher Ron Nagasawa for essentially giving away valuable space for free in Hawaii’s best-read publication. As Dennis says, “Many nonprofit organizations are experiencing declines in contributions due to our faltering economy. This page will not only share good news stories, but will also allow nonprofits a chance to highlight their organization and tell readers how to make contributions.”

(Happily, and significantly, our cousins at the Star-Bulletin also showed remarkable growth over the past year, and that was even before they went to the handy tabloid format MidWeek readers know so well.)

You may have noticed that we also recently added a couple of other new features.

One is Dr. John Kaya’s On The Wild Side column, in which he shares humorous tails, er, tales from his veterinary practice, as well as practical pet tips (page 36).

On the same page is Pet Parade, where we invite readers to send us photos of them and their pets. Oh da cute!

And while he’s been cartooning for us for a few months now, I also want to mention that Dick Adair has brought his poignant pen to MidWeek. With Dick, Roy Chang and Steve Kelly, MidWeek editorial cartoons are second to none. Dick and I were colleagues many moons ago at the Advertiser, and I’ve always respected his work and hold him in high esteem as a person.

Speaking of talented contributors whom I hold in high personal regard: Congratulations to Uncle Tom Moffatt, who last week was nominated to the National Radio Hall of Fame. It’s a well-deserved and long-overdue honor, but it’s just a nomination. Public online voting is allowed, and you can vote for Tom at www.radiohof.org. If even half of MidWeek‘s readers vote for Uncle Tom, he’s a shoo-in.

Yup, we have lots of which to be proud here at MidWeek, including our readers. At a staff meeting last week, Yu Shing Ting and Nathalie Walker told of an incident while out doing a Mystery Shopper story in Wahiawa. As Ron Nagasawa says, it’s reflective of the times and the aloha spirit of MidWeek readers: When a woman answered Yu Shing’s question correctly and was told she’d just won a $250 shopping spree at Foodland, she waved it away and replied, “I’m doing OK. Give it to someone who can really use it.”

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