REPORT FROM OAHU PUBLICATIONS – Oahu Publications, Inc. (OPI) and Kauai Publishing Co. announced today that OPI has purchased The Garden Island newspaper from Lee Enterprises, of Davenport, Iowa. The expected closing date is February 11, 2013.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not released. Under the agreement, The Garden Island, with a total average circulation of 9,509 daily and 8,413 on Sundays, 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 daily newspaper on Kauai,” said Garden Island and Kauai Publishing Co. publisher Casey Quel Fitchett.
Dennis Francis, OPI president and publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, said the acquisition of the Kauai newspaper demonstrates OPI’s continuing commitment to keeping the newspaper industry in Hawaii healthy and growing.
“In 1902, Kauai Publishing Company began printing The Garden Island, one of Hawaii’s most historic and enduring newspapers,” said Francis. “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.”
Francis said that The Garden Island’s editorial, advertising and some distribution functions will continue under existing staff but that production and printing will take place at the Star-Advertiser’s state-of-the-art printing facility in Kapolei on Oahu. The Garden Island newspaper will be flown to Kauai daily for distribution. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is already flown over every morning. There will be no change in delivery schedules and no increase in cost for The Garden Island as a result of printing on Oahu.
“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 has made philanthropy and giving back to the community a key part of its publishing philosophy and will ensure that The Garden Island continues this philosophy, including enabling newspaper subscribers to make charitable donations while paying for their subscriptions. In 2012, the Star-Advertiser distributed more than $3 million to local nonprofit organizations.
“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.”
In 2005, Lee Enterprises, which owns more than 50 daily newspapers in 23 states, bought Pulitzer, Inc., which owned Kauai Publishing Co. and The Garden Island.
Oahu Publications, Inc., is the publisher of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii’s only statewide daily newspaper. The Garden Island, one of Hawaii’s oldest continuously published newspapers, was established in 1902 by Kauai Publishing Co.