By Léo Azambuja
A year ago, I became editor of For Kaua‘i. I was lucky to take over a well-designed and well-structured business. As much as I wanted to introduce changes right away, I knew For Kaua‘i was a successful monthly publication, so I just went with the flow.
Oftentimes, however, change is inevitable. And that’s exactly what happened.
Over the course of a year, I built an eclectic and talented team of contributing writers, many with tons of professional experience, others just starting and eager to speak their minds.
We now have about 10 contributing writers, give it or take it, each month. You may not like them all (I do), but you’ll for sure find a few interesting stories at For Kaua‘i, ranging from culture to science, arts, food, people, environment, and the list goes on.
But here’s our major change. From now on, we’ll be wearing our cultural identity. Let me explain.
Every time we led the newspaper with a culturally significant story, we had massive positive responses from our readers. For example, when we featured a statue of King Kaumuali‘i on the cover, we couldn’t keep enough newspapers in the newsstands.
After many staff meetings, we decided we would lead For Kaua‘i with a culturally significant story every month. But when we looked back, this new direction felt more like admitting what we were mostly doing rather than having a major makeover. After all, this past year, we published many stories that were either all about culture or had cultural snippets.
So we decided that going forward, we are going to dig much deeper into culturally and historically significant stories. For that, we are teaming up with the Kaua‘i Historical Society, working with their staff and volunteers to bring the best stories possible to our readers.
I’m excited in many levels.
As a journalist and as an editor, I believe weekly and monthly publications should have an identity, a character that separates them from daily newspapers. For us, it’s the cultural and historical identity.
As an island resident of more than 20 years, having graduated from Kaua‘i Community College and having earned a journalism degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, I feel a responsibility to preserve and perpetuate what we have. I believe by exposing Kaua‘i’s rich culture and history, our newspaper would fulfill that responsibility.
We may be a small paper, but we know well the power of change that each of us has. And although small, we do have a healthy print distribution of 40,000, plus more than half-million hits online (www.ForKauaiOnline.com), which make our publication a remarkable tool to help to perpetuate the cultural and historic legacy of this island.
After all, Kaua‘i’s culture and history is not just a gift to our island residents; it’s a gift to all humanity. It’s how important this island is.