"Over the last couple of years, Honolulu Weekly has largely abandoned our old habit of taking potshots at the larger papers," editor Ragnar Carlson wrote last week. "We have simply felt that this was not the time to be nit-picking the Advertiser [which ceased publication on June 6], not with a dwindling staff of committed journalists struggling to keep it afloat." While noting that "there is a definite role for media criticism in this community," Carlson says the decision to not attack the daly is "one I feel good about."

Continue ReadingHonolulu Weekly Takes it Easier on Ailing Dailies

In response to some concerns "inside and outside the paper" about Ragnar Carlson's role as the Weekly's editor and his father's role as paid consultant to Parsons Brinckerhoff, Honolulu's prime contractor on the current stage of a massive rail project, Carlson says he's handing off all rail and rail-related stories to managing editor Adrienne LaFrance. "I've removed myself to avoid a conflict of interest, real or perceived, on this issue," Carlson writes, adding that he doesn't think that his father's role has influenced his editing or reporting. "[But] the perception of a conflict is as real a threat to our mission as any potential conflict itself," he writes. "Readers need to trust our coverage implicitly." On his blog, Carlson's father says it is "the right decision."

Continue ReadingHonolulu Weekly Editor Removes Himself from the Rail Beat

In his latest Society of Publication Designers blog post showing alt-weekly art directors some love, Robert Newman singles out Tom Carlson of Riverfront Times, calling him "one of a number of alt-weekly art directors who are doing amazing, creative work with their designs, crafting cover after cover from scratch, on super-low budgets, with limited deadlines, using primarily stock imagery and self-created artwork." Carlson, who has won several AltWeekly Awards in recent years (including a first-place win in 2007), says he employs an "object-oriented" method. "I like to go for visual solutions with clarity and directness that render text all but unnecessary," he says. "I tend to avoid decorative type choices and use type that just is, and let the words (when we have them) do their job."

Continue ReadingSPD Highlights Riverfront Times’ ‘Smart, Cool’ Cover Design Work

Laurie Carlson says the Weekly has always had a different business model than most dailies, obviously, but also from alt-weeklies on the mainland. "A lot of weeklies were built on private party advertising, which we never had," she says, referring to the person-to-person classified ads that have dried up in recent years. She says the Weekly has been doing better than the local dailies, but has still had to cut staff this year and is running thinner papers. But, she adds, things seem to be looking level, if not up. "Other than January, when we took a terrible, terrible hit, this year seems to be normalizing," Carlson says.

Continue ReadingHonolulu Weekly Publisher: Business is ‘Normalizing’

Rand Carlson, whose cartoons have appeared in the Weekly for more than 20 years, talks to local TV station KVOA about why he loves his job. "It's like one constant joke after another," he says. "I keep experimenting, I keep twisting words around, seeing pictures in my head about what to make fun of."

Continue ReadingTucson Weekly Cartoonist Talks About His Work

New editor Ragnar Carlson tells the Honolulu Advertiser the Weekly will no longer run a column by Hawai'i Democratic Party chairman Brian Schatz. "It has really nothing to do with the content of Brian's pieces but more to do with our responsibility to report aggressively on local politics," he says. Schatz had written the column since 2007 after he left the state House for an unsuccessful run for Congress.

Continue ReadingHonolulu Weekly Discontinues Local Pol’s Column

"I think our primary problem was simply finding solid sales reps," Laurie Carlson tells the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The Journal, which was accepted as a member of AAN last weekend, will print its last issue this weekend. Carlson also says it "wasn't a helpful thing" for the Journal that the Stephens Media Group, owner of the island's two daily papers, started its own alternative paper about a year ago. "They have much deeper pockets and they can run something that was heavily subsidized and we can't," she says. "It's a very sad thing."

Continue ReadingPublisher Talks About Why Hawaii Island Journal Called it Quits

The Journal, which was voted into AAN on Saturday in Philadelphia, will close after its next edition is printed this weekend, according to the Honolulu Advertiser. The paper, which was founded in 1999, was owned by Pacific Catalyst Publishing LLC, which also owns AAN member Honolulu Weekly. "The Journal faced a direct challenge for more than a year from the new Big Island Weekly published by Stephens Media Group," the Advertiser reports. Editor Peter Serafin tells the Pacific Business News that publisher Laurie Carlson told him Monday about the paper's closure but gave no reason for the shutdown. "It came as a complete surprise," he says.

Continue ReadingHawaii Island Journal Folds