Kapiolani CC student newspaper to be shuttered in a few weeks

Here’s another entry for the “media is dying” file.

Kapiolani Community College is killing off its student newspaper, Kapi‘o, at end end of the current semester.

The decision was apparently made at the administrative level. While the name and online platform will still be used to publicize news selected by administrators and faculty, it will be without student involvement.

The news was announced the the Kapi‘o News Facebook page.

With heavy hearts, we are sad to announce that the Kapi‘o News has met its end.

On May 16 this student run campus publication will be departing Kapi‘olani Community College forever. This decision was made by the school administration who wanted to move Kapi‘o in a new direction. In the future, the Kapi‘o is turning into a place to post outstanding student work, and other events as deemed important by the school. This way a writing/editing staff is no longer needed. All decisions are going to be made by KapCC faculty and staff – therefore we will no longer be a student publication.

We are currently putting together a farewell issue to be distributed the week of April 28. We would like to share the thoughts of our readers and Kapi‘o alumni about the matter in it. If you are interested in being quoted, please respond to this post.

Thank you all for being wonderful readers of the Kapi‘o News.

The news has drawn a number of comments, like this one:

Robert Lopez That is terrible! I’m an investigative reporter at the Los Angeles Times and my first reporting experience was at Kapi’o. It all began there for me at KCC’s Diamond Head campus under Winnie Au … Is the student body planning to protest?

It’s a sad story, and a sad statement about education, journalism, news, etc.

9 responses to “Kapiolani CC student newspaper to be shuttered in a few weeks

  1. Seems part of a bigger picture of mismanagement of Hawaii’s community college system that is breaking down many places. Check out Tiffany Hunt’s blog “Big Island Chronicle” on he dismissal student leaders at Hawaii Community College in Hilo over the questionable expenditure of student fees.

    Leaders who asked questions were dismissed.

    Our family experience at HCC is mostly negative. The administration there has been in a fort-like mentality for along time.

    I suspect a real grand jury might make many recommendations for immediate change, if not some indictments..

  2. “Is the student body planning to protest?”

    yes, as soon as they finish solving dark energy on their ipads.

  3. A sad story and one that I suspect won’t get much media attention, unfortunately. In light of all the shenanigans going on at UH West Oahu, Hilo CC, and the Manoa mothership, there’s not enough red meat here to attract the attention of Gina Mangieri or Keoki Kerr.

  4. Very sad and bad. This deserves major publicity and is a real loss to the students working on the paper….part of their eduction dropped in the trash can. Auwe.

  5. Very unfortunate. I started my journalism career at the UH-Hilo student newspaper (known then as the Vulcan News) 28 years ago, and while I have not always agreed with the paper’s direction or methods, it is always sad to see student voices silenced.

  6. I read the article at BIC (thank you, Hugh Clark). It’s also made HawaiiNewsNow.

    That it’s cross-published at BIC and Ke Kalahea gives me hope that Ke Kalahea can still produce real news.

  7. Well, have you seen how bad Ka Leo on the UHM campus has become in recent years. No longer 5 times a week and just a few pages. Yet students are being charged $13 a semester.

  8. compare and decide

    Perhaps on the issue of “the decline of journalism”, much of our thinking is in the past.

    As Albert Einstein said, “Everything has changed except the way we think.”

    On the one hand, we lament the loss of journalism jobs.

    On the other hand, here we are bemoaning the loss of a program that would train new journalists … for jobs that largely no longer exist.

    More broadly, journalists mourn the “decline” of journalism. True, there are fewer jobs and fewer newspapers.

    But for those of us who are not journalists yet read news religiously, this era represents a journalistic renaissance. This blog, insofar it is a local news aggregator that links the public with all sorts of relevant news stories, is powerful proof of that.

    There was a time in my life after college when, if I wanted to read an elite national newspaper like the WSJ or the NYT, I would have to drive to a public library on the weekend or to a university library and get in line to read. (It’s either that or take out an expensive subscription and get a vast newspaper in my mailbox, or to buy it at Safeway.) Nowadays, looking over these two newspapers is the first thing I do in the morning, and I glance over them several times a day to keep up (I don’t have a subscription to either of them).

    So perhaps there are three groups of people that have very different perspectives on the way journalism is evolving.

    1) Journalists, who are worried;
    2) Educated “attentive” readers (news junkies), who have largely migrated to free elite news sources with great delight and spend more time than ever reading great news, but who weep crocodile tears over the evaporation of local news; and
    3) The overwhelming majority of ordinary people who are interested almost solely in entertainment (recipes, sports, music, celebrity gossip).

    So when we talk about the “decline” of newspapers, perhaps we are talking about at least two distinct things:

    1) The consolidation of elite news services, with fewer jobs and less revenue, but more readership than ever.
    2) The transformation of serious local daily newspapers into “community newspapers” (newsletters).

    At a deeper level, this not merely reflect the changes wrought by new technology. It also reflects human nature. Most people have no interest in the great issues of the day. In fact, perhaps most politicians and members of the elite more generally are not that interested in or familiar with the issues; they are professionals primarily interested in their careers.

    If everyone was a news junkie, local newspapers would be thriving.

  9. compare and decide

    As for the decline of a university’s student newspaper’s readership, I think I might have been a good witness to that in terms of the UH Manoa’s student newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii.

    In 1992, hurricane Iniki passed through the Hawaiian islands, directly striking the island of Kauai, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage.


    The effects of this catastrophe rippled through Hawaii’s economy for years. The University of Hawaii system, highly subsidized since the boom years of the 1960s, went into retrenchment, and tuition skyrocketed. For example, there are no books in the UH system from the year 1995.

    Up until 1995 or so, perhaps 80 to 90 percent of the newspapers in the Ka Leo bins on campus would be read, with 10 to 20 percent of the remainder left in the bin. With a demoralized faculty and student body, readership of Ka Leo plummeted around 1995 to about 50 percent. By evening, the bins were half full.

    But 1995 was also the year that the World Wide Web came online. That was the Golden Age of the Internet, when the Internet was dominated by professors and their research. Why would a professor read an abysmally bad student newspaper when he can now go up to his office and spend hours sifting through new research from colleagues around the world – and for free? Right there, the one audience that is most compulsively inclined to reading and which has self-interest in keeping up with university events and issues in a time of crisis now have their eyeballs engaged elsewhere.

    Over the next few years, the student body also found its way online, albeit not necessarily for information (this is the understatement of the century). Ka Leo lost it quasi-monopoly as a distraction on campus catering to bored young eyeballs.

    Ka Leo finally developed an online presence around 1998 or 1999, supposedly the last university student newspaper to go online. In the year it went online, it won a national award for the best web design among national student newspapers.

    Unfortunately, the Asian economic crisis struck in 1997. So by the years 2000:

    1) people on campus had other sources of news and entertainment other than Ka Leo;
    2) when they did read Ka Leo, they read it online; however,
    3) they simply did not want to read Ka Leo because it had been almost a decade of bad news.

    At that point, only 10 to 20 percent of the newspapers in the bins were getting read, with 80 to 90 percent of the remainder getting recycled. That’s a waste of trees, but Ka Leo was legally obligated to print all that unused paper because of its contracts with advertisers, who did not have a clue that Ka Leo was no longer the attraction it once was. Ka Leo’s mission is not primarily news, but training future journalists and training advertising sales staff as well, so they cannot tell advertisers that the paper is basically obsolete; to fulfill the paper’s mission, they had to maintain the charade. Even before the decline, one always had the sense with Ka Leo that the attitude was “Our aim is to go through the motions.” There was no real content or quality, and everyone was used to that.

    Now, if it’s been a long, long time since the majority of UH students read Ka Leo O Hawaii, just what is the readership of a student newspaper at a community college like KCC?

    Moreover, if Ka Leo, a flagship paper, was always a miserable farce even by the (modest) standards of American state university student newspapers, what is the value and quality of any of these community college newspapers?

    My own idiosyncratic opinion at the time was that:

    1) Ka Leo could work with Honolulu Weekly,
    2) All UH system newspapers could be merged with Ka Leo in this endeavor, and
    3) Ka Leo stories in the Weekly could be put online.

    “Ka Leo O Hawaii”, after all, means “The voice of Hawaii”, not just the voice of Manoa.

    At the time, a Ka Leo reporter who had begun to work at the Weekly said to me “Wow, the Weekly is so cool after the lameness of Ka Leo!” But a year later, I bumped into her and she said “The Weekly is a joke, even though it’s way better than Ka Leo. And my car has been robbed ten times in chinatown.” In any case, the Weekly is no more. So much for my random, fanciful idea from so long ago.

    But perhaps the idea could be recycled in some form, with the assistance of CB.

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