Category Archives: Web/Tech

When Is The 10:00 News?

By Leslie Lang

Rick Blangiardi was keynote speaker at a Hawai‘i Island Economic Development Board meeting on Wednesday. He spoke about how today’s (and yesterday’s, and tomorrow’s) rapidly changing technology is changing the news business. It was interesting to hear an overview of how much TV has changed, and how quickly, and why.

Blangiardi worked in media for decades, both here in Hawai‘i (he started with KGMB back in 1977) and on the mainland—where, among several other positions, he was president of the Spanish-language television network Telemundo. Now he’s back in Hawai‘i, where he first moved in 1965 and where he said his heart has been ever since.

In 2009, he took over as general manager of Hawaii News Now (HNN), a new concept in television here:

Hawaii News Now is the name of the news department shared by three television stations in Honolulu, Hawaii: CBS affiliate KGMB (channel 5), MyNetworkTV affiliate KFVE (channel 9) and NBC affiliate KHNL (channel 13). The newscasts are produced by Raycom Media, which owns KGMB and KHNL and operates KFVE (owned by MCG Capital Corporation) through a shared services agreement. – Wikipedia

Remember how every evening there used to be an announcement, like, “Tonight’s 10 o’clock news will start at ten minutes after 10”? Programming wasn’t the same as on the mainland, he said, “and we didn’t follow any of the rules.”

Not only did Hawai‘i have to wait for its copies of mainland programs to physically arrive by boat (isn’t that amazing to think about now!), but many people were not able to see television broadcasts at all, because the island’s topography caused poor reception in some areas. There was no cable distribution, and it was a wholly different ballgame.

In 1989, computer technology came to television, and that’s when it became possible to measure the television watching audience here. Hawai‘i became part of the national television index, and television stations here were asked to clean up their act and start their programs on time. That’s when the 10:00 news started airing at 10.

In the last four to five years, he said, changes have been unprecedenced. The collapse of the state’s economy in 2008 “brought all of us to our knees,” he said. Even before that, stations had been struggling for advertising dollars. The advertising marketplace had changed and it was hard to support the four local news operations Honolulu had at the time.

In 2007, a group of investors bought the highly-competitive-with-each-other television stations. There was a lot of scrutiny about the deal, he said, but they carefully vetted everything through lawyers and FCC regulations before announcing the consolidation of stations. The stations became Hawaii News Now, and it created an incredible opportunity.

Their plan was to combine resources and provide something Hawai‘i had never seen before. Using these extensive resources, and the ability to hire the best people, they commited to producing what’s now 40.5 news hours per week and became a 24-hour news operation.

Technology has opened up a whole new perspective. Now, he said, people go to the computer and expect news around the clock. For instance, during a recent period of huge surf on O‘ahu, HNN had 10 million page views on mobile platforms in a week, and another 2.5 million on the web.

Two hundred and seventeen thousand people like Hawaii News Now on Facebook. “If they ‘like’ you, they’re inviting you in,” he said. “You’re part of the family. It’s like when the kids go to college; we hear about it. It’s all unprecedented. The readers can reach in and touch us. Everybody has some kind of device in their hand and people expect to be able to communicate like that now. (HNN Reporter) Mileka Lincoln, she’s a rock star! It’s a whole different dynamic.”

The other huge change, he said, is that they no longer only broadcast over the air. The technology they use to distribute their programs is pretty sophisticated and wide-ranging now—methods I imagine no one dreamed of back when he started in television.

What especially seemed to resonate with the group of HIEDB forward-lookers is when he said that every plan and every decision they make is done with an eye toward the future. He said it’s taken him four years to get the staffing at HNN just right, and now he feels very good about the people working there and how they are moving Hawaii News Now toward a still-changing future. He’s also glad they’ve been able to bring talented people back home from the mainland, where they moved to pursue careers, and give them good jobs here—like the aforementioned Mileka Lincoln.

“Hawai‘i is more sophisticated than many other places when it comes to wired technology,” he said. “We’ve really evolved into a 21st-century electronic company.” HNN is a statewide television organization and tries to be inclusive of the neighbor islands; he points out that the morning program Sunrise is going on the road 15 times this year. When they come to the Big Island each spring to cover Merrie Monarch, he said, they actually put their expensive truck filled with very high technology equipment on the barge and bring it with them—but even that technology is changing now.

Technology has always driven the television business, he said, but never to the extent things are changing today as we continue to careen into the Digital Age. He said that he’s always asking his staff: “Where are the new ideas? What are we going to do that’s new and different? What are we doing right now, at the end of February, that’s different from what we did a year ago?”

Richard Ha said later that this is a question  people in every industry, who understand all the changes we are going through right now, should be asking themselves.

He told me he was interested in how Rick used his iPhone to illustrate how dramatically things had changed in the last four or five years. Handheld mobile devices made it possible for people to report things instantaneously—just click and send. And then people wanted to receive their news the same way; on their handhelds.

“It was an unprecedented change, and HNN challenged themselves by thinking outside of the box,” said Richard. “We are constantly challenging ourselves, too, by asking how we can stay relevant to a rapidly changing tomorrow.”


Arianna Huffington & Pierre Omidyar Coming to Farm; New Blog

Richard Ha writes:

Have you heard that Huffington Post and Honolulu Civil Beat are partnering up to launch a new online site called HuffPost Hawaii?

As part of next month’s launch, Arianna Huffington and Pierre Omidyar are coming to the Big Island, and they have asked to visit the farm to learn more about the nexus of energy and agriculture here in Hawai‘i.

They have also asked me to write a HuffPost Hawaii blog, starting during their launch week. I’ll link to that here when it’s available.

We are in such a unique position here in Hawai‘i, with our own set of energy issues, limitations and resources and how all that relates to our situation in terms of sustainability (being able to produce what we need here, vs. being dependent, for example, as we are, on 85 percent of our food being transported here from the U.S. mainland) and food security (being able to get adequate and sufficient food, regardless of where it comes from).

Both Arianna and Pierre’s farm visit, and our HuffPost Hawaii blog, will be great in terms of helping show how Hawai‘i fits into the big picture of energy and agriculture.

They are also great opportunities to continue our GMO discussion and to discuss other sustainability practices.

We might have a lot to gain once HuffPost Hawaii starts up. We will have additional, knowledgeable, people in Hawai‘i, as well as worldwide, reading about our energy/ag situations here and possibly helping us make informed decisions as we chart our course.

What an exciting venture this HuffPost Hawaii is.

HuffPost Hawaii Is Coming Soon!

Posted: 05/29/2013 12:07 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/29/2013 2:16 pm EDT

NEW YORK CITY AND HONOLULU – May 29, 2013 – The Huffington Post and Honolulu Civil Beat today announced a partnership to create HuffPost Hawaii, a site that will bring together the resources of The Huffington Post and The new site, expected to launch this fall, will give a global audience access to the wonders of one of the world’s most famous destinations and the authentic community of Hawaii, including its Aloha spirit. The site will explore Hawaii as an oasis for unplugging and recharging. It will also offer Hawaii residents local news and perspectives, along with Pulitzer Prize-winning national and international coverage…. Read the rest


There’s ‘Aina’ in ‘Sust-aina-ble’

I’ve been hearing about this interesting Facebook page called Abundance – Hawaiian Sust_AINA_ble lifestyle. You might consider joining it. (If you cannot get that link, search the page’s name at Facebook).

Here’s the page’s description:

E komo mai (Welcome!) Join us as we find the best markets, farms, food and sustainable life in Hawai’i Island aka The Big Island of Hawai’i.

There are great articles, videos, notes about “green” things happening on the Big Island, and a real sense of community is forming there, too. I’m going to follow along. See you there!


Check Out Honolulu’s Civil Beat

Do you know about Pierre Omidyar’s new online news organization out of Honolulu? It’s called Civil Beat, and it just went online this week.

It’s a whole different approach to news, and it’s really interesting. From Editor John Temple’s introductory remarks:

A New Approach to Journalism

By John Temple

 (photo: Randy Ching & Mark Quezada/Civil Beat)

Welcome to Civil Beat. We’re glad you decided to join us.

I’d like to tell you about the journalism you can expect to find here
our team of reporter-hosts. It’s different. And I’m excited to
begin talking with you about it before we start
publishing articles on May 4

We start this news service with the belief that we’re here to serve
you. That means our daily work is to ask the important questions
citizens might have in the face of the complex issues facing our
community. And to answer them in a way that helps members reach an
informed opinion, based on our reporting and the discussion that will
take place as we together create the new civic

You’ll find that our initial coverage is centered around five
fundamental beats: Hawaii, Honolulu, Education, Land and Money. For each
of these coverage areas, we have identified critical issues – and now
that you’re here we hope you’ll help us sharpen our focus.

How will we do this to best serve you? First, you’ll be part of the
process. You might have noticed that we’ve opened the doors to this new civic square without putting up any news articles. That’s different – a news service without news, at least initially. It’s intentional. We want to begin by talking with you about what we’re doing, to hear what you want from us and what you think we should be asking. We believe
conversation and civil debate with our reporter-hosts and with other
members is central to what will make Civil Beat valuable. And we want
you to see that the core of our service isn’t the article itself. Of
course, incisive news reporting soon will be an important part of what
we offer. But at the heart of our service are pages dedicated to
providing you context and understanding about the issues you need to
know about. These “topic pages” are living pages. They’ll grow over
time, with your help. We know you’re busy and that our job is to help
make it easy for you to learn about and truly understand what’s going
on, and what you might be able to do about it. With our approach, you
should be able to find the background you need when you want it, without having to surf thousands of pages of documents or make numerous phone calls to unearth what should be readily available to you. (Read more)

I love that they are thinking differently, and providing “topic pages” that lay out background and context about the issues they then report about, and that there will be conversation.

How will they make money? It’s by membership. Anyone can roam around the site, but to delve more deeply into the content you’ll need to be a member. Right now they are offering a discount on the first month’s membership. Normally it’s $19.99/month, but if you sign up now you get the first month for $4.99. I’m going to join.


Blah, Blah, Blah

Leslie Lang writes:

Richard and June are back from two weeks in New York City and have hit the ground running. Richard will check in here on Monday, but in the meantime he asked me to tell you a little bit about myself and about my husband Macario.

I am a freelance writer, and met Richard when the editor of Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight magazine Hana Hou! asked me to do an article about Hamakua Springs. Macario, a professional photographer, was assigned to photograph the article. We both hit it off with Richard right away.

When the farm needed a website, Richard remembered mine and knew that I’d done it myself. He asked if I’d work on a website for the farm. So that was the second time we worked together.

Macario did all the photography for the website and helped some with the graphic stuff. I planned and wrote and put it all together. And along the way we confirmed that Richard is really a terrific person to work with. Smart, positive, enthusiastic. It’s a dream partnership.

As Hamakua Springs keeps growing and evolving, we have both continued to work with the Has. Macario does the farm’s photography. I maintain the website, write articles and press releases, keep a press kit current, and do other writing and projects as needed.

And then we came up with the idea of this blog, which I started and maintain. I got to make up my own title—“Chief Blogger”—and am really enjoying it.


In our other lives, Macario shoots for most of Hawai‘i’s magazines and some mainland publications. He does some commercial work for corporate clients (specializing in architecture and interiors) and often shoots art work for artists. He also specializes in, and really enjoys, photographing people. He has a design and graphics background and is himself an artist.

As for me, I write a lot of different things: For corporate clients (newsletters, slogans, press releases, manuals, more); articles for magazines, both here in Hawai‘i and on the mainland; copy for websites (I also do website design), and books. My first (co-written) book, Mauna Kea, published by Watermark Publishing, came out last fall. If it has to do with words, I’m there.


Right now I’m just finishing up another book, which is about historic Hilo and has been a really neat project. I see Hilo completely differently now. When I drive into town from Hamakua over the singing bridge, I “see” the pre-1946 railroad station sitting there, roughly where the “Welcome to Hilo” sign stands. And when I drive down Kamehameha Avenue past Wailoa State Park, I picture it lined on both sides with businesses and homes as it used to be, even though that was before my time and I never saw it that way.

When the book, “Exploring Historic Hilo,” comes out this fall I’ll remind you here and try to badger you into buying a copy.

Okay, enough about us! Richard will be back here on Monday to tell you how his weight-loss program held up in New York, and more. Stay tuned.