And now for some very bad media news that went down over the weekend: Honolulu Weekly, an independent alternative paper on Oahu that just celebrated its 20th year and is owned by publisher Laurie Carlson, is facing a dire financial situation, according to blogger Ian Lind. “In an email sent yesterday [Aug. 5] and forwarded by one of the recipients, Carlson said David Black’s Oahu Publications, owner of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, is demanding payment of about $20,000 in past due printing bills by next Wednesday, August 10,” Lind reported. “They are ‘threatening, essentially, to close down the Weekly’ if they aren’t paid, Carlson wrote.”
This is beyond bad. Honolulu Weekly is, like MauiTime, a member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN), which means they offer the same hard-hitting news, colorful arts and entertainment coverage and comprehensive calendar listings that we do. Recent investigative stories they’ve done include a look at at bank foreclosure tricks were hurting Hawaii families and the pain caused by “sex-tourism” in the islands. They’re also a small (36,142 weekly circulation, according to AAN’s member directory) for-profit company, which means private donations aren’t tax deductible.
According to Lind, Carlson wrote in her email that she’s stopped paying Oahu Publications “not because we are ignoring our obligations but because we needed to use our existing cash flow to pay our current printers, Maui News.” Lind added that Carlson’s Aug. 5 email indicates that she’s already secured commitments for $6,500 of the $20,000 she needs.
A spokesperson with Oahu Publications didn’t return a call seeking comment by press time. Carlson also declined to comment for MauiTime.
“No thanks,” she emailed on Aug. 8. “Not happy that this was publicized. Its [sic] not helping our situation.”