A Reporter’s Report On Reporting

Photo from Bob Jones

Writing a book is not something I’d want to do twice!

You start, stop, decide to give it up. Years go by. You tackle it again, finish it and get it published.

That’s my story with REPORTER – now at, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and other book outlets via Booklines.

It’s about journalism. I’ve worked at five newspapers, a local TV station and as a foreign correspondent with NBC News. Covered one war in Biafra and another in Vietnam.

I’ve seen great journalism and bad journalism. I tell tales of both and use real names. Tales from my time at the Advertiser and at KGMB. How I got fired from my first newspaper job and how my small newspaper in Germany was able to get a top Army general fired for cause.

I also answer the question many of you have as to whether the news media are biased.

Writing the book was alternately great fun and great agony. Arthur C. Clarke wrote about 400 short stories and novels, the most famous being 2001: A Space Odyssey. He lived to age 91. If I had to agonize over another book I’d unlikely make it to my 77th.

I’m always amazed when growing-old politicians come out of retirement for another grasp at power or fame or whatever the motivation. It frequently does not go well for them.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano tried it this time and fell way short of the brass ring. More puzzling was the run for Hawaii County mayor by Harry Kim, the ex-mayor and civil defense director. He fell to his ex-county employee and current Mayor Billy Kenoi.

You’d think they’d had their shot and would enjoy their emeritus status but never be masochistic enough to get back into the fray.

I’m also amused that so many people claim that “special interests” influence elections or politicians. Hello! Isn’t whatever you want a “special interest”? Is it surprising that construction unions and train-building companies should support pro-rail politicians? Is pro-ag-lands lobbying a “special interest”? Are parents seeking more school funds a “special interest”?

Special money anonymously donated is what should alarm us – that and the new Super PACs launching outright lies and smears. (Yes, I’m referencing Pacific Resource Partnership.) That Citizens United court decision unleashed a plague on our political lives.

I’m leery of publicly financed campaigns but worried that we can never tamp down Big Money. A candidate can refuse it – then face almost certain defeat.

Harry Kim refused it once and won. Refused it this time and lost.

While CNN, KGMB (CBS) and KHON (Fox) were reporting the re-election of Barack Obama last Tuesday night at about 6:15, KITV was doing local weather with Justin Fujioka. You have to suspect all the eyeballs were gone for that station for the rest of the night.