Too Much Credit?
Rem Rieder may be correct that new Akron Beacon Journal owner David Black has "moxie" ("Paint It Black," Web special). But he--and writer Lucinda Fleeson ("Starting Over," December 2001) before him--give him far too much credit for snatching the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from the jaws of closure by Gannett.
It's true that Black stepped in and purchased the Star-Bulletin at a time when any buyer was given long odds (at best) at making it a viable newspaper. Despite those odds, he continues to publish it five years later "head to head" with the nation's largest newspaper company.
However, the employees of the Star-Bulletin and their union, The Newspaper Guild-CWA, not only made his Hawaii venture possible, they continue to keep it alive today. In 1999, the Guild, along with the Hawaii State Attorney General, led the citizens' group effort to stop Gannett's closure of the Star-Bulletin. It was the Guild's attorney who worked with the AG's office and represented the Save Our Star Bulletin group in the legal action that produced the injunction preventing the Star-Bulletin's closure and the subsequent antitrust case that paved the way for Black's entrée into the market.
The employees of the Star-Bulletin spent countless hours at rallies, sign-waving demonstrations and meetings garnering public support for the effort to save the newspaper. No doubt, Star-Bulletin employees and their union have benefited from continued publication of two newspapers in Honolulu. But David Black couldn't keep that operation going without the sacrifices made by the employees who work there. Heck, he wouldn't even BE in Hawaii if it weren't for them.
Linda K. Foley, President###
The Newspaper Guild-CWA