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Oahu Publications buys The Garden Island newspaper

  • Oahu Publications, the parent company of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser announced that it is purchasing The Garden Island newspaper. (image by Martha Hernandez/mhernandez@staradvertiser.com)

    Oahu Publications, the parent company of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser announced that it is purchasing The Garden Island newspaper. (image by Martha Hernandez/mhernandez@staradvertiser.com)

Oahu Publications Inc., publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, has acquired The Garden Island newspaper from Lee Enterprises, the companies announced Monday.

The Garden Island, with a circulation of 9,509 daily and 8,413 Sunday, will continue to be published Monday through Friday and Sunday.

"We are pleased that The Garden Island will continue to be owned by a newspaper company with a demonstrated commitment to strong journalism and one that understands the importance of a locally produced newspaper on Kauai," said Casey Quel Fitchett, publisher of The Garden Island and Kauai Publishing. 

Dennis Francis, OPI president and Star-Advertiser publisher, said the acquisition demonstrates OPI’s continuing commitment to growing the newspaper industry in Hawaii. "In 1902, Kauai Publishing Co. began printing The Garden Island, one of Hawaii’s most historic newspapers," he said. "We want this newspaper to continue building its journalistic legacy and serving the people of Kauai. We feel strongly that Kauai residents need their own in-depth, locally produced daily news."

The Garden Island’s editorial staff will be increased, and advertising and some distribution functions will continue under the existing staff, Francis said. Production and printing will be handled at the Star-Advertiser’s state-of-the-art printing facility at Kapolei on Oahu, which will result in discontinuing about 14 jobs on Kauai. Those who work 20 hours or more a week and are not offered a new position will get severance packages.

The Garden island newspaper will be flown to Kauai daily for distribution. The Star-Advertiser already is flown over every morning. 

Delivery schedules and prices for The Garden Island will remain the same.

"We believe this is a great opportunity for The Garden Island’s print and online editions to evolve and expand with our association with the state’s largest media company," Fitchett said. "Our sole concern is for our readers, and we want them to know that we will continue to put out the best newspaper possible, reflecting the local issues and concerns of Kauai residents."

OPI’s publishing philosophy includes philanthropy in the community — it distributed more than $3 million to local nonprofit organizations on Oahu last year —  and that philosophy will be extended to Kauai. "We will incorporate our approach to giving back to the community into The Garden Island’s business plan," Francis said. "We want the residents of Kauai to know that we care about what happens there, and The Garden Island will play a positive role in the Kauai community."

The expected closing date of the transaction is Feb. 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, owns more than 50 daily newspapers in 23 states. It bought Pulitzer Inc., which owned Kauai Publishing and The Garden Island, in 2005.

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