Ragnar Carlson, who has been with the paper since May 2008, will be leaving in November.
Honolulu Weekly walked away from the Hawaii Chapter SPJ's 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards dinner with two honors. Ragnar Carlson won first place in the General News/Enterprise Reporting category for his article, "Malaekahana-ville," and Adrienne LaFrance was a finalist in the Feature Writing Category.
"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."
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."
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.
Ragnar Carlson, who formerly worked as a staff writer and later news editor at the paper from 2004 to 2005, replaces Mindy Pennybacker, an environmental journalist who took over the alternative newspaper's reins in January, Pacific Business News reports. Carlson is no relation to Honolulu Weekly Publisher Laurie Carlson.