Categorized | News

Hawaii online news service eyes spring launch

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

A new Hawaii online news service is set to launch within a matter of months.

Peer News, the Honolulu-based company that will produce original, in-depth reporting and analysis of local issues in Hawaii, was co-founded in 2008 by Pierre Omidyar, best known as the founder of eBay, and Randy Ching.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Omidyar introduced John Temple, formerly president, publisher and editor at Rocky Mountain News, as editor of the start-up operation.

They said they hope to blast off in the second quarter of this year with a slate of reporters focused on civic issues that impact Honolulu and the neighbor islands, even though they have yet to disclose the name of the new Web site and have yet to hire any writers.

Omidyar said he is committed to building a for-profit, sustainable news business that strives to make the community a better place. He called the current media environment challenging and exciting.

“I’m passionate about providing people with a new way to get their news and understand the issues facing our community, and more importantly a vehicle to enable increased involvement and impact on those issues,” he said.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been slashed in newsrooms across the country in the last couple of years, as more and more people look to the Internet and social networks for their news. Hawaii 24/7 is among the many news Web sites that are looking to capitalize on the online readership and serve their communities.

“There’s a lot of experimentation out there,” Omidyar said, as journalists look to redefine their role and re-think how best to use online tools and social media networks.

He acknowledged revenue is important and advertising may play a role, but cautioned against assuming the past is an indicator of the future.

While they have not yet announced details about the business model, Omidyar said people still value good reporting, investigative journalism and breaking news coverage.

The focus will be on civic matters that relate to government, business and the economy, while the Web-only service will also allow for deeper analysis and resource tools to help people participate and get involved, he said.

“I’m very aware and sensitive to the fact Honolulu is not Hawaii,” he said. “There are issues that are unique to different islands.”

Omidyar said he believes Hawaii is an ideal place to launch his start-up operation.

“Honolulu is my home, it’s where we’re raising our kids,” he said. “It’s the perfect place to experiment.”

Temple is expected to arrive next week in Hawaii to begin recruiting and hiring to staff the newsroom. He said having journalists with Hawaii experience, background and knowledge would be important.

Omidyar said resumes from reporter candidates will be accepted immediately.

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One Response to “Hawaii online news service eyes spring launch”

  1. This is great news for Hawaii. I can only wish the best for Peer News. Looking forward to your new named website. Mahalo, Rusty


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