Strike up the band! And can we have a drum roll, too, please?
What’s the occasion?
After more than a year of meetings, back and forth emails, and numerous starts and stops due to our issue deadlines, we are happy to announce that beginning today, Nov. 2, 2018, readers can subscribe to The Hawai‘i Herald online and read the entire edition using any internet browser and on any of their digital devices — if that is how they choose to read it.
For several years now, we have received requests for an online option to subscribe to the Herald. They’ve come in emails, messages left on our website and phone calls. They all cite good reasons: You want to take care of mother earth by reducing your carbon footprint; you want to reduce your paper clutter. One subscriber said he had mobility problems with his arms, so a digital version that allowed him to scroll with just his finger would be a big help. For some subscribers on the continent, the paper arrived looking like 15 people had read it before it reached their mailbox. Your comments — and the reality that we live in an increasingly digital environment — made offering an online option a no-brainer.
Over the years, it became evident that the Herald’s potential to grow would continue to be limited if we could not get the paper into the hands of prospective subscribers. But how could we do that without it costing us the fortune we did not have? If there has been an upside to Hawai‘i residents moving away and settling on the U.S. continent, it is that they hunger for stories from Hawai‘i. They want to know about the Okinawan Festival, they want to read about Misora Hibari enthusiasts like Karen Keawehawai‘i and Lorraine Kaneshiro. They want to learn about Honouliuli and meet artists like Harry Tsuchidana. They hunger to read about life on our neighbor islands. Reading about home is like eating comfort food.
Introducing the online option makes all that possible in a way I could not have imagined 20 years ago.
For this, we turned to Hawaii Information Service, the company that developed our website, www.thehawaiiherald.com, some five or so years ago and has continued to manage it for us. We have had a great relationship with the HIS team — web designer Gail Matsushima, “big picture” guru Ryan Ozawa, our project overseer Sri Ram, and HIS executives Faith Geronimo and Colleen Yasuhara. They have worked with us throughout this journey.
From the early days of our website, Ryan helped us think through the pros and cons of offering the online option. HIS was always patient with us — understanding our stretches of silence when we were in production on an issue. And, knowing that we are not a deep pockets company, they have worked with us to reach this major milestone in the Herald’s history.
We are actually rolling out our online option in phases. The first phase is for new subscribers only who want the online option. The online subscription price will be the same as the print version — $54. To purchase an online subscription, just log on to
www.thehawaiiherald and click on the “Subscribe” button, fill out the online subscription form, and pay with your credit or debit card. You can do it at any time of the day.
You will be asked to create your own personal password and username (usually your email address) that will give you access to the Herald anytime you want to read it. Please do not share your access information with others — encourage them to subscribe for themselves. Your subscription will be automatically renewed at the end of your 12-month subscription period and charged to your credit or debit card. If you encounter any problems, feel free to call me at (808) 845-2255 x. 118, or email us at email@example.com.
Thanks to Gail’s hard work, your online subscription will also give you full access to Hawai‘i Herald issues from 2017 until the current issue.
If you want to continue receiving the printed version of the Herald, you don’t have to do a thing; nothing will change for you. You will continue to receive the Herald on the first and third Friday of each month, either delivered to you by the Star-Advertiser or by mail.
Although this is a great leap forward for the Herald, I must remind you that we are still publishing the Herald with a skeleton staff. On the editorial side, I am the only full-time person — Jodie Ching is with us only half-time. Grant “Sandaa” Murata is the advertising manager for both the Herald and the Japanese-language Hawaii Hochi. Our columnists, cartoonists and contributing writers send me their stories to be copy-edited. Our issues continue to be laid out by former managing editor Gwen Battad Ishikawa, who works on the Herald in the evenings, after getting home from her regular job, and on weekends.
Our goal always is to get the issue to you on time — that means in your mailbox or in your garage on the first and third Friday of the month. Sometimes we will not make it — we’ll be late — but usually by no more than a day. I ask you to please be patient; we are doing the best job we can with our limited resources.
I’ll leave you with this thought. One thing I distinctly remember my mom telling me when I was a kid was to always do a good job until you finish the task. If you can’t do that, then don’t start it, she always said. Mom has been gone 33 years, but I can still hear her voice when I’m dead-tired and just want to wrap up the issue. I can’t. Mom won’t let me do that — and you are the beneficiary of her values.