Hawaii Reporter Celebrates 10th Anniversary

article top

Hawaii Reporter celebrated its 10th anniversary on February 11, 2012. The daily online news journal, co-founded by former Pacific Business News journalists Malia Zimmerman and Jay McWilliams, began publishing Monday through Friday news updates on February 11, 2002.

Over the last decade, Hawaii Reporter has broken key stories related to business, government, elections, education and union activity and has published thousands of independent articles and guest editorials not seen elsewhere.


In late 2009, Hawaii Reporter partnered with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and several online news outlets across the country, to produce its investigative and legislative news reports under Watchdog.org and Statehousenewsonline.com.

When The Honolulu Advertiser merged with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2010, Hawaii Reporter was fortunate to bring investigative reporter Jim Dooley and business reporter Greg Wiles on staff.

McWilliams left the company in late 2010, and launched another business with former contributor Laura Brown, but the McWilliams retained partial ownership with her husband Bob until 2011 when investors bought out the couple.

Today there is a long list of regular contributors including award winning cartoonist John Pritchett, award winning humor columnist Charles Memminger, University of Hawaii Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros,  Tax Foundation of Hawaii President Lowell Kalapa, Hawaii author J. Arthur Rath, Atomic Monkey’s cartoonist Keith Rollman, Vietnam Veteran Duane A. Vachon, HonoluluTraffic.com’s Cliff Slater, Grassroot Institute policy staffer Malia Hill, and Senators Sam Slom, (R-Hawaii Kai), and Will Espero, (D-Ewa Beach). Hawaii Reporter also featured  regular columns on climate change and nuclear science by Dr. Michael Fox, a nuclear scientist, who sadly died late last year after an extensive battle with cancer.

Hawaii Reporter has been fortunate to have an extensive intern high school and college program, which has included journalism and art interns from France to the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.

In 2008, Hawaii Reporter started a new television talk show, News Behind the News, hosted by Malia Zimmerman, which still airs today on Channel 54 on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. This is our fourth year to continue the 30-minute show, which has included a number of high profile politicians and community leaders, including congressmen, governors, mayors, law enforcement, the Supreme Court Chief Justice and other judges, legislators and council members, and featured political debates for the state’s highest offices.

In 2011, Hawaii Reporter partnered with former KGMB Television reporter Matt Levi to produce an investigative news documentary, Hawaii Investigates with Matt Levi, on what is happening Hawaii’s Youth prisons. The half hour special aired three times on the local CBS and NBC affiliates under the Hawaii News Now umbrella.

A formal partnership with Clear Channel’s KHVH News Radio’s Rick Hamada enables Hawaii Reporter to feature a daily news report at 7:45 a.m. on the station, and Hamada to produce weekly “5 Questions” with key political and policy leaders in Hawaii and the mainland U.S., which air on KHVH News Radio and Hawaii Reporter Television.

The publication’s journalists, including Jim Dooley, Malia Zimmerman, Greg Wiles and Laura Brown, won several key awards over the years from the Society of Professional Journalists and Smart Business Hawaii. Zimmerman received three top awards from the Washington-state based Second Amendment Foundation and one from the Washington DC-based Voter Integrity Project.

Hawaii Reporter was the local inspiration for the Hawaii Journalism Shield law passed in 2009 – a law considered one of the best in the country by national journalism advocacy organizations.

Hawaii Reporter has worked as a consultant to ABC 20/20FOX News and as a researcher for the New York Post.

Hawaii Reporter has been featured or quoted in numerous media outlets around the world including ABC 20/20, American Journalism Review, Associated Press in Tokyo, Associated Press U.S., Bangkok Post, Boston.com, Budget and Tax News, BusinessWeek.com, Clear Channel in Denver, London’s Daily Mail, Drudge Report, Editors & Publishers Magazine, First Amendment Center, Forbes.com, Fox News Network, Fox’s Greta Van Sustren, Freedom Forum, Geraldo, Gun Talk Radio, GunWeek Magazine, Hawaii Bulletin Board, Hawaii Business Magazine, Hawaii News Now, Hawaii Parent magazine, Hawaii Public Radio, The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Magazine, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, HonoluluTraffic.com, Honolulu Weekly, Houston Chronicle, KCCN Radio, KGMB TV 9, KHNL News, KHON TV News 2, KITV News 4, KSSK with Perry & Price, Liberty Magazine, London Daily Mail, Midweek, MSNBC.com, National Review, National Journal, National Public Radio, Neil Cavuto on Fox News, NRA Magazine/Radio, Opinion Journal, Olelo Television, Orange County Register, Pacific Business News, PBS Hawaii, Politico, Rick Hamada Morning Show, Rush Limbaugh (on air and web site), Samoa News, School Reform News, Sean Hannity Radio and Television, Small Business News, Statehousenewsonline.com, The Hill, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, United Press International, Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner, Washington Times foreign bureau, Watchdog.org, Women and Guns Magazine and WPAL Radio in Baltimore, Maryland.

Coverage of the Congressional and U.S. Senate races, and interviews with candidates, have been cited in a number of political journals such as The Hill, Politico, Wall Street Journal and the National Journal. Investigative news reports on the cost of President Obama’s Hawaiian vacations were featured around the world, and even made a mention on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

In addition to the state’s most current political and business news, Hawaii Reporter’s special reports on the slave factory in American Samoa, elderly abuse, the 2004 mayor’s election, the cause and impact of the Ka Loko Dam breach, problems in Hawaii’s affordable housing facilities, where the money is going for federal contracts and grants, legislative ethics issues, the Honolulu rail and other transportation issues, legislation at the Hawaii State Capitol, and corruption and waste in local government, have gained widespread local and national attention.

Features such as Women of World War II, Growing Up in Hawaii, Slice of Life Hawaii, and Heroes of the Pacific now buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, have also been cherished by local and mainland readers alike. Last year, Slices of Life was turned into a book, compiled and written by Hawaii Reporter columnist J. Arthur Rath.

In 2012, Hawaii Reporter continues with some of its most important investigative news coverage:

    • Hawaii Reporter has uncovered a major human trafficking operation with victims from Laos. Hawaii now has the highest human trafficking statistic in the country. The U.S. State Department, the United Nations Human Trafficking Committee and a group in Laos have told us they are looking into the matter. These reports not only look at the impact on the lives of the victims, but the toll trafficking takes on Hawaii’s economy and food supply. Food safety can be jeopardized when farm workers are untrained, don’t speak English so cannot read directions, and yet mixing and spraying chemicals on the produce we eat.
    • Jim Dooley continues to look into problems in Hawaii’s affordable housing facilities. His 2011 investigative reports led to a state audit and change in management at a Maui affordable housing complex.
    • Hawaii Reporter journalists broke a key story tying a prominent University of Hawaii Professor to an X-rated “Volcano Girls” escort service and web site when Jim Dooley went under cover and filmed an escort inside the professor’s bedroom in Waikiki. The professor also had a prostitution bust in his apartment in 2007. But he still denies knowledge of either incident.
    • Stories on problems with Thai labor working in Hawaii have received coverage internationally in the Bangkok Post, several international documentaries, and in the foreign press. These stories will continue in 2012 through the coverage of the Global Horizons trial.
    • Hawaii Reporter’s investigative work on the most notorious manslaughter case in Hawaii’s history – the 2006 dam breach on Kauai –  has led to Hawaii Reporter being called to testify in the civil and criminal cases relating to the deaths of 7 people who died that tragic morning. The case not only focused attention on the land owner, who was eventually charged with manslaughter for allegedly causing the deaths of 7 people, but it brought into question the government’s role in assessing and inspecting dams and issuing citations for violations of dam safety. Dam owner James Pflueger, charged with manslaughter, goes to trial in October 2012.
    • Coverage of the Jones Act’s negative impact on Hawaii and US territories has gained national attention and furthered a national discussion of an exemption to the legislation. Investigation into the fuel surcharges by our local duopoly carriers led to an investigation by a national agency.
    • Reports on visits by both President Barack Obama and family and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Hawaii – both in November and December 2011/January 2012 – and the cost and impact on taxpayers, garnered international attention.
    • Stories about tax increases and business regulations are unsurpassed locally and have gained attention from our business community and lawmakers.
    • Stories of waste, fraud and abuse by state department managers uncovered by Hawaii Reporter also led to their replacement.
    • Hawaii Reporter also continues its investigative reports on the city’s planned $5.3 billion rail system and how the 2012 mayoral election and a pending federal lawsuit will impact the project.

Hawaii Reporter has changed over the last decade and grown not only in contributors and stories, but in readership. Hawaii Reporter has more than 4,000 twitter followers, and we have nearly 20,000 people liking our stories on Facebook.

With 10 years of amazing stories, top notch reporters and contributors, a regular stream of good news tips, and an overwhelming amount of news to follow every day, Hawaii Reporter is sure to break new stories and ground in the next decade to come.

If you want to support our investigative reporting and state house news coverage efforts, you can make a contribution, buy an advertisement or purchase a voluntary subscription to Hawaii Reporter by logging on to our Paypal account or by sending a check to Hawaii Reporter, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, Ste 212, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825.