Today, Maui Now reported that Hawaii Publications, Inc. has closed the venerable old Maui Weekly. Published in various forms and and under different names (and owners) since 1986, the Weekly ceased publication on Monday, Oct. 27.
“The Maui Weekly newspaper published it’s [sic] last issue on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, and it’s [sic] online version is no longer accessible via the internet,” Maui Now reported. A former writer for the paper disputes this, saying the final issue hits the street on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Ending the paper’s run on a Monday, in the middle of their print cycle–and more than a week ahead of a big election–seems a drastic move. According to Maui Now, Hawaii Publications’ publisher Joe Bradley (who also runs The Maui News) said his company closed the weekly paper because it “was just never able to achieve the advertising base to make it a viable operation.”
A reporter who’s freelanced for the paper in the past confirmed that to me. “It was Joe Bradley’s call,” the writer said via email. “The paper was shut down yesterday. It was about money. The closing did not come as a surprise to me, for many moons it had not been profitable and it lasted way longer than I expected.”
While it’s bad journalism manners to dance on the grave of a competitor (way things are going, all newspapers these days should worry about getting shuttered), I can’t say that I’m shocked by the news. The paper’s been thin, uneven and, for the most part, uninteresting for virtually all of the last nine years–the period Hawaii Publications (which also includes the Lahaina News, Maui Bulletin and failed Maui Big Book and Haleakala Times and is itself a subsidiary of West Virginia-based Ogden Newspaper Group) has owned the Weekly. Given that the paper was even more bare-bones than this one–Maui Now reported that it had just three employees when it closed–the real question becomes why it didn’t close sooner.
Still, Maui residents have lost another source of news and information about the county. And that’s not good for anyone.