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ISLAND HISTORY: The Hawaiian sugar plantation newspaper era – 1919-1983

From 1919, when Kaua‘i’s Hawaiian Sugar Co., aka Makaweli Plantation, first published the “Makaweli Plantation News,” Hawai‘i’s original sugar plantation newspaper until 1983, when the Waialua Sugar Mill plantation published its final edition of the “Waialua Sugar Scoop,” a total of 55 Hawaiian sugar plantations published their own in-house newspapers.

Of these, 15 different newspapers were published on Kaua‘i.

The Kaua‘i sugar plantations that published these 15 newspapers were Makaweli Plantation, McBryde Sugar Co., Grove Farm Plantation, Kekaha Sugar Co., Olokele Sugar Co., Kilauea Sugar Co., Lihu‘e Plantation, and the Waimea Sugar Mill Co.

Here are the titles of the plantation newspapers published on Kaua‘i: “Brydeco Digest,” “Brydeco News,” “Grove Farm Plantation News,” “KAA News,” “Kekaha Weekly Bulletin,” “Kekamana,” “Kaumakani News,” “Kilauea Life,” “Namahana News,” “Namakana News,” “Lihu‘e Plantation News,” “L.P. Co. Progress,” “Makaweli Plantation News,” “Waimea Planter” and the “Waimea Plantation News.”

All costs of producing and distributing these newspapers were absorbed by plantation management. Plantation managers acted as publishers, and employees who reported and wrote news and features usually did so on a part-time basis in addition to their regular jobs.

The newspapers appeared as monthlies, semi-monthlies and weeklies, and were printed primarily in English, with Tagalog, Visayan, Ilocano and Japanese columns and pages included.

Mimeograph and duplicating machines on-site at the plantations printed the newspapers, or copy was sent to printing houses like the Garden Island Publishing Company or the Hilo Tribune-Herald.

Papers were delivered through mail boxes and at designated locations.

Among the capable editors of Kaua‘i plantation newspapers were Joe Shiramizu, editor of the “Lihu‘e Plantation News” from 1948-68.

During his tenure as editor, Shiramizu also handled labor relations, sick leave, housing, camp police and the athletic program.

He was acknowledged for his imagination and for turning out excellent copy.

As editor, he won awards for having the best plantation newspaper on Kaua‘i and in the territory and state of Hawai‘i.

Other editors of note on Kaua‘i were Emil “Spike” Roduit of Kekaha, Shihei Fujikawa and Abel Medeiros of McBryde and Richard Tom of Grove Farm.
Source: The Garden Island

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