Latest Articles

  • Civil Beat Named Best News Site in Hawaii By Journalism Group

    · By Patti Epler

    Civil Beat has been named the best overall news site in Hawaii for the fifth year in a row by the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter.

    Civil Beat also took home the top award of the night — the public service trophy for “Death on the Streets,” a series that revealed more than 400 homeless people have died in Honolulu in recent years. The series also won first-place for investigative reporting in the all-media category.

    The annual awards competition, held Friday evening at the Japanese Cultural Center, honored the best work in 2014 by the state’s journalists in TV, radio, newspaper, magazine and online organizations. Independent journalists and public relations categories also are included.

    HuffPost Hawaii, Civil Beat’s sister site, also won numerous awards this year, including a first place for best reporting using social media for Carla Herreria and first for the staff for headline writing in the all-media contest. HuffPost Hawaii was named a finalist in the best overall news site category.

    Civil Beat Deputy Editor Eric Pape holds the stack of awards given to Civil Beat by the Society of Professional Journalists honoring work done in 2014.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    In the all-media competition — any organization from any media can enter their work in a number of categories — Civil Beat took home five first place awards in addition to investigative reporting and public service:

    • Government reporting: Adrienne LaFrance — “In the Shadows: How Serious Is the Military Sex Assault Problem in Hawaii?“
    • Special section: Eric

  • LIVE: Day 2 of Carleton Ching’s DLNR Nomination Hearing

    · By Gene Park

    For the second day, Hawaii senators continue to question Carleton Ching on his nomination to be chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

    If you’re having technical issues with the livestream, try refreshing the page. The livestream comes to you courtesy of Olelo Community Media.

  • LIVE: Carleton Ching’s DLNR Nomination Hearing

    · By Gene Park

    This live broadcast is courtesy of Olelo Community Media. If you experience any technical difficulties with the stream, try hitting refresh.

    If you missed this morning’s testimony on Carleton Ching, you can read the testimony submitted before today here, and catch up on reporter Anita Hofschneider’s live tweets at the hearing below.

    [View the story “The DLNR Chairman Nomination Hearing of Carleton Ching” on Storify]

  • From Moscow, With Aloha: A Recap of Snowden’s Talk in Hawaii (VIDEO)

    · By Gene Park

    Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower on the run, spoke at ACLU Hawaii’s First Amendment Conference live Saturday, via a video link from Moscow, Russia.

    The livestream, courtesy of Olelo Community Media, featured Snowden who appeared on a giant screen behind his attorney, Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, and panel moderator Aviam Soifer, dean of the University of Hawaii law school.

    The full discussion with Snowden, Wizner and Soifer is below, courtesy of Olelo Community Media:

    A full social media recap of the conversation is below:

    [View the story “From Moscow, With Aloha: Snowden Speaks” on Storify]

    If you missed it, Olelo will rebroadcast Snowden’s talk on Channel 54. The schedule:

    6 p.m., Feb. 15
    10:30 a.m., Feb. 20
    9 a.m., Feb. 21
    1:30 p.m., Feb. 23

  • Have Something to Say to Civil Beat? Here Are Our Commenting Guidelines

    · By Gene Park

    Be you. Be cool. Be civil.

    Civil Beat was launched in 2010 as an online forum where our community can engage in challenging, thoughtful discussions that don’t devolve into a series of insults, where transparency and accountability are vital. Since then, many other sites (The Huffington Post for example) have adopted similar rules in hopes of cultivating a civil discussion.

    We want to maintain Civil Beat as Hawaii’s civic square, a place where diverse and quality discussion thrives. But we need a few rules and guidelines. We welcome your feedback and input in crafting these, so drop us a line at These guidelines are also available on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    What are your guidelines on commenting?

    We do not tolerate personal attacks against other readers, our staff and even the people we cover. Insults lead nowhere in a civil discussion. If you feel someone is wrong — whether it be another commenter, our reporter or a public official we cover — feel free to say why you think so. We encourage diverse — and often opposing — views on the many issues facing Hawaii.

    Critiques of others don’t need to be direct insults. As an example, feel free to say, “I disagree with John on his views on the Honolulu mayor’s proposal, and here’s why.” But do not say, “John is an idiot.”

    We will immediately remove comments that are racist, sexist, derogatory to anyone’s culture, faith, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We won’t tolerate bigoted or offensive language. We discourage profanity, and Facebook will

  • Pod Squad on Omidyar, Philanthropy and Civil Beat

    · By Mike Webb

    What’s an editor to do when her publisher’s philanthropy touches so many different organizations in Hawaii that it becomes difficult to measure its reach? Well, she writes about it, and sits down with Pod Squad host Chad Blair to talk about it, too.

    In a wide-ranging interview, Civil Beat Editor Patti Epler explains what prompted her to write about the more than $100 million that Pierre and Pam Omidyar have spent on philanthropic causes and social-change efforts in Hawaii, and how people have reacted to the story. Pierre Omidyar is Civil Beat’s publisher.

    Listen to the full show above, or subscribe to the Civil Beat Pod Squad on iTunes or Stitcher. Mahalo for listening.

    The Pod Squad is produced by Mike Webb, the sales and marketing director at Civil Beat. You can reach him by email at or follow him on twitter at @gmikewebb.

  • Civil Beat’s 10 Most Read Stories of 2014

    · By Gene Park

    For Hawaii, 2014 was a newsy year. There were election surprises and the threat of a pair of hurricanes, with one turning into the damaging storm that struck the Big Island just before primary Election Day.

    Beyond the breaking news, the state’s rising cost of living continued to turn the screws on residents in their daily lives, and our stories about this relentless phenomenon captured plenty of attention from readers.

    It is clear that many of the big stories of 2014 will become an integral part of next year. We have yet to really feel the imprint of our new governor, David Ige, after his improbable rise to become the state’s chief executive. The GMO debate is sure to continue, with lawsuits moving forward. The inability of the city and the state, at least so far, to bend the curve on homelessness means that the issue will almost certainly continue to get plenty of attention. As for the cost of living, well, you tell us when things get a little easier.

    In the meantime, here are the most-read stories Civil Beat published in 2014.

    10) Living Hawaii: Many Families Sacrifice to Put Kids in Private Schools

    The gates of Punahou School.

    Civil Beat really dived into its Living Hawaii series this year to explain, understand and seek solutions to the enormous challenges people face as a result of the high cost of living. The cost of education can be enormous. Families in Hawaii, and especially on Oahu, have a uniquely intense faith in private schools

  • Hawaii’s 2014 in 25 Tweets

    · By Gene Park

    As the end of the year approaches, we scoured the twittersphere in search of 25 particularly relevant comments on important issues in the islands over the last 12 months.

    Milk and the Minimum Wage

    A far-reaching law from the 2014 legislative sessions will put more money into the hands of low-salaried workers even as Hawaii’s high cost of living continued to rise. Lawmakers reached a deal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018.

    For people earning the current minimum wage, an hour of work is barely equal to the cost of a gallon of milk. After taxes, it might not even be enough, depending on where people buy their milk. Forget the Big Mac Index. Hawaii’s milk is an easy reference point for high across-the-board prices.

    Yall didn't believe me #HImilk

    — Kelsie (@kelsiehee) December 19, 2014

    A few supermarket prices might help to convince people like “Hollywood Q” that moving to Hawaii isn’t quite as easy as he thinks.

    I would not be opposed to buying a one way ticket to Hawaii n just finding minimum wage employment out there. Just for a little

    — Hollywood Q (@quintondaniels_) November 4, 2014

    Fortunately @_maarrk offered a little big-picture context.

    If hawaii wasn't so expensive everyone could probably afford their own place ;p

    — Mark (@_maarrk) December 18, 2014

    Homeless in Paradise

    Given the state’s rents, which cost 50 percent more than they do nationally, a lot of people can’t afford their own place, or even a shared one. Some mainlanders discovered as much when they read headlines highlighting the fact

  • Civil Beat Drops Subscription Rate

    · By

    New monthly price reflects broader reach stemming from partnership with Huffington Post.

  • New Deputy Editor Joins The Civil Beat Team

    · By Patti Epler

    Former Newsweek scribe brings the lessons of a very interesting life to Civil Beat.

  • HuffPost Hawaii Will Allow Civil Beat To Expand Watchdog Effort

    · By Patti Epler

    Civil Beat readers can expect even more investigative reporting, enterprise and analysis.

  • A Letter From Civil Beat

    · By Pierre Omidyar Sara Lin and Patti Epler

    Join us in making Hawaii a better place.

  • From a Few Hands to Many

    · By John Temple

    I leave with deep appreciation of the way so many embraced Civil Beat.

  • 10 Must Read Stories From The Week Of April 2 – 6

    · By John Temple

    From rail to The Descendants, the week that was.

  • Civil Beat Editor to Join Washington Post as Managing Editor

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Temple helped Honolulu website earn recognition for serving community.