Another Big Island reporter leaves journalism

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s commentary on the Hawaii County Inauguration Day doings.

She gives an insightful play-by-play on the county council’s first meeting, including hints on the new political lineups and alliances, and then gets to important stuff–staff appointments by new council members. This is the kind of nuts & bolts reporting that would be useful for understanding the Honolulu City Council.

Tiffany reports:

Peter Sur, of Hawaii Tribune Herald, is going to work as Dennis Onishi’s Council aide.

I have to compliment Onishi for choosing such a smart staffer. Peter will find life as a legislative assistant to be complementary to journalism. And, not working for Stephens Media, he won’t go home feeling like he wants to kick his dog.

And, so, with that I could segue into another story about another reporter leaving journalism for a job at the County of Hawaii.

Sur was in the middle of a labor dispute at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that started back in March 2006 when he and Dave Smith were suspended for recording a meeting with an editor, and eventually led to ruling against the newspaper’s union busting by the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

Also recommended: Joan Conrow’s comments on the Kauai County Police Commission’s decision to appeal a ruling in a case involving the relative authority of the commission and the mayor in dealing with the chief of police. The vote reversed a previous decision not to take the case any further.

Conrow explained:

The Police Commission, meanwhile, has changed its mind and decided to appeal Judge Randal Valenciano’s decision that Mayor Bernard Carvalho had the authority to suspend Chief Darryl Perry last February. I was told that two commissioners wanted to approve an appeal at the Nov. 14 meeting, when it was voted down, but were intimidated by the presence of the mayor, an ex-officio member of that panel.

Apparently, they collected their courage in the last two weeks. Charlie Iona, who had been absent from the Nov. 14 meeting due to heart surgery, added his vote to the affirmative at last Friday’s session.

The Garden Island reports that the commission will be asking the County Council for money to fund the appeal, though Corlis Chang of Goodsill Anderson Quinn and Stifel reportedly had offered to do it pro bono before the first vote was taken.

It’s unfortunate that the mayor chose to turn his disappointment about the most recent vote into a personal attack on the integrity of some commissioners:

4 responses to “Another Big Island reporter leaves journalism

  1. Hard to believe anyone is still working for newspapers. If you are, it means, more than ever, submitting to corporate mediocrities who get paid many times more than you do. Enduring constant pay and benefit reductions. Grinding out low-cost, superficial crap every day. Working overtime for free. Maybe the newspaper industry is approaching death because it deserves to.

  2. Burl Burlingame

    Newspapering is still noble work, if you can get it.

  3. Make no mistake. Peter Sur is best home grown journalist on Big Island since David Shapiro. He can cover anything with balance and depth while brushing aside confusion and distortion.. He was well trained at University of Oregon but in his working time in Hilo since then. Sur has embraced the waterfront from astronomy and Hawaiian culture to breaking cop news and politics and come up with high marks virtually every time. He understands history and context — so often missing in younger writers. His leaving is a major loss to a fading newspaper.

    • Hugh, you make an excellent point about the effects on the product — and, in turn, the community — when older, experienced journalists leave.

      On the other hand, now we benefit from such youth-oriented journalistic enterprises as Sluttie of the Week, Tattoos and Tan Lines, and “foodie” fetishism.

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