By Léo Azambuja
Once I asked my father, a working artist, when he decides a painting is finished. I half-expected his answer, “When I sell it.” I should’ve known it. Obsessive improving disorder is something I am well aware I inherited from my father.
So in 2014, a few months after I took the editor position at For Kaua‘i, I realized I came across someone else with the same disorder. Working closely with Barbara Bennett, For Kaua‘i owner and publisher, made me realize I had teamed up with a sharp-minded woman with an unbroken process of holomua, or improving, everything she does.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise for me, yet I was floored when I heard Barbara and For Kaua‘i won the State of Hawai‘i 2016 Small Business Advocate in Media and Journalism Award, given by the Small Business Administration, Hawai‘i District Office. Only 12 businesses in the state receive an SBA award in different categories each year.
Even though we can brag we have a 53,000 readership, more than 80 newspaper stands islandwide and monthly website hits hovering in the half-million mark, I still think of our publication as a small, grass roots business. We work, hard. And we love it, immensely.
We have come a long way since our first issue in January 2011 — and for seven years prior to that as the former Kaua‘i People. In the last couple years, we made major design and content changes. Besides reporting on community issues, we also give opportunities to a variety of local writers. Since January 2015, we decided to always lead our monthly publication with a culturally relevant story. All this is the fruit of nonstop work behind the curtains and endless meetings — usually over food, Kaua‘i style.
Barbara’s award, which she humbly credits the entire For Kaua‘i team, just goes to show our changes are paying off. In addition to this year’s SBA award, last year we were the only Kaua‘i publication to bring home a prestigious Hawai‘i Publishers Association Pa‘i Award. It was our first Pa‘i Award, and hopefully many more will come.
But we still obsessively want to holomua, to improve. In the next few months, we will be publishing an anniversary glossy magazine intended to become an annual publication, portraying the timeless cultural articles we published all year. This magazine will be a beautiful legacy we want to leave for our island, and it’s a gorgeous publication we intend for you to keep forever as a powerful reminder of the rich and diverse cultural roots of our island.
Meanwhile, we will continue to publish For Kaua‘i newspaper monthly and to update www.forkauaionline.com on a daily basis.
Mahalo nui loa for reading our publication and supporting us. We do it for you, with you, for Kaua‘i.