We’re growing

Ikaika M Hussey

We’ve worked hard in the past week to push through a series of upgrades to the Hawaii Independent’s website. Many of the changes have been on the backend—we’ve moved to a new server to accomodate increaed traffic, and we’ve changed our templates to make it easier for our reporters to allocate stories across our 17 community and beat pages.

As a consequence of these changes, we’ve experienced some technical difficulties. We apologize for the dust, and we thank you for your help in finding broken links or missing stylesheets. (I’m talking to you, @hawaii! Mahalo.)

A lot of the changes that we’re making are motivated by the realization that not only are we living in a one-paper town, it’s a state of outsider media monopolies. As a result, good reporters have lost their jobs, small businesses are being hit by hiked-up ad rates, and the quality and quantity of local news have been affected.

We’ve decided that the best thing we can do for the community, right now, is to dramatically grow our breadth and reportage so that we can compete with the new Star-Advertiser, and thus offer our readers and Hawaii’s small businesses a viable alternative. So in addition to our normal hyperlocal community coverage, we’re starting to present more breaking news, and regular coverage of local politics and economy. If we can’t cover a story with our own reporters, we’ll link to others who can—including the Star-Advertiser.

We’re very interested in hiring former Honolulu Advertiser writers, but we’ve been stymied by restrictive severance arrangements which are preventing those highly-experienced writers from seeking other employment until July.

On the horizon, as well, is the best coverage of the political campaign season, on The Rotunda. We’ve got the voices of the campaigns themselves via their Twitter feeds. And soon, we’ll launch an open source database of local politics, which we’re tentatively calling “Political Intelligence.”

There’s some other goodies, too, such as a social-life section called HI24/7. You can think of it as Metromix for the whole local experience, night and day. And we’re planning to add more membership functionality, which is an area on which we’ve moved too-slowly.

So thanks everyone for your patience and support. We’ve seen dramatic increases in pageviews and visitors since Monday, and are gratified by your readership. We welcome your feedback! Let us know how we can improve.

Mahalo for supporting local journalism.