HONOLULU — Last year, Kaua‘i’s community newspaper reached new levels of excellence in journalism. This week, its top brass brought home the hardware to prove it.
The Garden Island placed in four categories at the 26th annual Pa‘i Awards, a statewide journalism contest sponsored by the Hawai‘i Publishers Association.
“This is a proud day for The Garden Island newspaper and its employees,” said Publisher/Editor Randy Kozerski. “Our writers and photographers work tirelessly seven days a week to deliver a quality product each day for our readers. It’s always rewarding for our writers, photographers and artists to receive recognition among their peers for the great work they do.”
The Garden Island is locally written, produced and printed on Kaua‘i and has been in circulation since 1902. Kozerski also serves as the secretary/treasurer on the HPA Board of Directors. He noted that Mainland judges read the entries, and publications including West Hawai‘i Today, Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald, MidWeek and The Maui News competed with The Garden Island. The paper last participated in the Pa‘i Awards in 2005, when it won first place for feature photography.
Among its new round of awards, the most notable is a first place in editorial opinion for The Garden Island’s December editorial “Pay raises deserve public explanation.”
“For Kaua‘i, the Forum page of The Garden Island newspaper is an important refuge against the constant tides of government fiefdoms and arrogant behavior. In this editorial, the editors show with clarity and determination how a county bureaucracy has willfully stepped away from transparent government,” a judge’s comments stated.
“The editorial doesn’t mock or hyperventilate its opinion; it simply nails the coffin on a shameful misuse of public process for gain. The editorial is detailed to the point of getting in the way of a good story, but it mounts a serious argument that exposes local government to an unrelenting light.”
The paper also brought home a second place plaque for its editorial series on suicide that ran May 23-25, 2010; a second place in feature photography for photo “Jungle Fest” by government reporter Léo Azambuja; and a first place in spot news photography for staff photographer Dennis Fujimoto’s “Friends, family celebrate ‘Our boy, Andy,’” which was published Nov. 15, 2010.
Upon presenting the four plaques to employees this week, Kozerski said he was proud of their accomplishments, and hopes to earn more awards in following years.
“You guys really deserve credit as a newsroom,” he said.
The Hawai‘i Publishers Association is a nonprofit media organization that promotes the print publishing industry in Hawai‘i. Ted Dixon, the president of the board and publisher of Hawai‘i-Tribune Herald, said publications received awards in 28 categories.
• Jessica Musicar, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.