Newspaper Musical Chairs

This year the music will stop and the one left standing without a chair will be the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

The announcement today is of Oahu Publications Inc. buying the Honolulu Advertiser and putting the Star-Bulletin up for sale in two weeks must be blow to my friends at both daily newspapers as they try to read the tea leaves into the future.

I had often imagined the big Kapolei printing plant by Gannett on Oahu being like the Death Star becoming fully operational with the Star-Bulletin playing the part of planet Alderaan. The Advertiser seemed hell-bent at times on getting rid of the Star-Bulletin (I’m not talking about the Tiser’s editorial staff, I’m talking more marketing and management but hey, they have bosses and shareholders to answer to).

Will the Star-Bulletin find a buyer? I find it hard to believe they will in this economy.

Do the employees have the balls to buy the paper themselves and run it? It would take more than balls, it would be a huge gamble with life savings in a bad economy as newspapers are not cheap to run. There’s no way they could just turn it into an online paper and support the number of staff members they currently have. Everything beyond content creation would be cut if they went online: printing operations and circulation with delivery people.

Could Peer News buy the Star-Bulletin? I doubt they would in it’s current state. They’ve made it quite clear they don’t want to have a paper product. I could see them wanting to buy the name…didn’t some airline want to do that with the name ‘Aloha Airlines’ recently? I see both the Tiser and Peer cherry-picking reporters from the Bulletin staff.

Frank F. Fasi will be rolling in his grave if the Star-Bulletin closes. Fasi always hated the idea of a monopoly with a one newspaper town.

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