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
from 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.
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.