Five Years In The MidWeek Ohana
Wednesday - October 26, 2005
After a short break from life as a columnist, I’m back just in time to celebrate an anniversary! This week marks five years since I started at MidWeek as a staff writer.
MidWeek took a chance on me as a young and relatively inexperienced writer, hiring me to do stories for our Windward Islander insert. Since then, most of you have come to know me as a columnist (a gig I began back in 2002 by chance, when MidWeek editor Don Chapman let me write a guest column about my trip to Scam-cam traffic court).
I realized during the last few weeks I’ve been on hiatus that most people think I spend my entire week sitting at my desk, mulling over what relationship issue or personal experience I’ll write about next.
Even my own grandmother, aware of the absence of The Young View for the past three weeks, asked my mother if I was “still going to work.”
So I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you in on a few details about what we do here at MidWeek, the job I’ve been lucky to call mine for the last five years, and the wonderful family that makes up your MidWeek editorial team.
MidWeek has continued to flourish over the years. We acquired new ownership in 2001 and became cousins with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Our press runs basically around the clock printing the Star-Bulletin, MidWeek, MidWeek The Weekend, Windward Islander, our military papers as well as other commercial print jobs - including advertising inserts for Neighbor Island papers.
While there are 454 employees in the company and countless departments that help guide MidWeek from start to finish, your MidWeek editorial team is composed of only 10 full-time employees.
Of course, we also employ several freelance writers, who cover our major feature stories, and we have more than 30 columnists, both syndicated and local, who send in their submissions each week.
The rest is up to MidWeek‘s editorial staff - editor Don Chapman, managing editor Terri Hefner, regional editor Carol Chang, associate editor Steve Murray, senior writer/website editor Linda Dela Cruz, senior writer/style editor Yu Shing Ting, calendar editor Kerry Miller, chief photographer Nathalie Walker, senior photographer Byron Lee and me, senior writer/MidWeek The Weekend associate editor. Pheeeww!
My friends laugh when they listen to how many titles I have on my outgoing voicemail. But the truth is, it takes a lot to put out two MidWeeks every week, distributed to 268,000 homes on Oahu, as well as our Windward Islander and military papers.
Editor Don Chapman works his desk phone to the bone, coordinating everything from our cover story to the inside features, to Pa’inas and more. Among other things, Terri Hefner copy edits every single piece of writing before it goes to layout not to mention coordinating the photographers’ hectic schedules. Carol Chang scours the Windward side to get the most up-to-date news for the Windward Islander, distributing community news stories to Yu Shing, Linda, Kerry, Steve and me for the week.
Five of your MidWeek staffers - Carol, Yu Shing, Linda, Steve and me - are columnists as well. Steve produces our Oahu Star for military readers each week; Kerry types in every single calendar item for MidWeek‘s two papers and coordinates Business Roundtable and Hot Shots; Linda develops our website and coordinates the Movers page, and Yu Shing keeps busy setting up Style page photo shoots and conducting MidWeek‘s Poll. I spend my week coordinating our two movie pages, celebrity movie reviews and building the Pa’ina photo feature spreads.
In addition, we all pen feature stories on occasion, write headlines, do our own layouts and then read every word of copy AGAIN before it goes to press, and you’ve got one busy team. Not to mention our photographers whose cameras were worn out even before we added a second paper.
Busy, busy, but this is what I love. I think I have the best job in journalism for two very important reasons:
1) I love the people I work with. We really are a little family here. We take care of each other and we help out wherever and whenever we can. I must also mention our publisher, Ron Nagasawa, whose column you all love to read. It is because of Ron and Don that I got this opportunity to write my column. At the time, I was the youngest columnist in the history of MidWeek. It was and still is quite an honor to have this space every week.
Ron and Don are the kind of bosses you hope for. Their doors are always open, they’re fair, kind and they always do their best to give us every possible opportunity.
2) I love what I do. MidWeek gives me the unique means for job variety. I’m not stuck on a beat just pounding out the same kinds of stories day in and day out. I’m in touch with community groups and individuals of all types - each of them, with an important story to share. I become their voice
and that’s something I take very seriously.
Mostly, I meet interesting and generally nice people. Sometimes stories are easier to get than other times. Occasionally we have to do a lot of chasing; stories also fall through and we must scramble to meet our bi-weekly deadlines.
But in my five years at MidWeek, I’ve had the chance to speak with famous recording artists, comedians, entertainers, opera singers, chefs, attorneys, state officials, beauty queens, politicians and Hawaiian activists. I’ve sat with engineers of landmark buildings, top-of-their-game athletes, cultural icons, dog groomers, entrepreneurs, farmers, beer makers and belly dancers.
I’m always learning something new, and I’ll never get bored. Perhaps my greatest lesson is realizing how important it is to be a part of something you believe in - working with people you believe in.
Mahalo to all of you who continue to make MidWeek a part of your lives.
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