PM Advertiser looks like nice fit for Island
By Jim Kelly
In March 1946, The Advertiser announced that it would supplement its morning edition with publication of an afternoon edition "to keep pace with the hourly march of events both at home and on the national and international scenes."
According to George Chaplin's book, "Presstime in Paradise," then-Editor Raymond Coll described it as "a new adventure" in the history of Hawai'i newspapers.
The PM saga begins
We began a similar adventure almost exactly 55 years from the day The Advertiser first decided to switch to all-day publication. On March 15, we began publication of the PM edition of The Advertiser for many of the same reasons cited in 1946.
Since we began publishing our PM edition, I've received calls from readers wanting to know why we're putting out both morning and afternoon papers.
The mission of the PM edition is simply this: To provide a newspaper to people who prefer getting their news in the afternoon.
A shift in reading habits
This community has a long tradition of afternoon readership. But as they have on the Mainland, reading habits in Honolulu have slowly shifted toward the morning newspaper.
The core of our readers and the bulk of our circulation still come from the morning edition of The Advertiser.
But when the joint operating agreement with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ended in March and the Bulletin moved out of our building, we were able for the first time since 1962 to print an afternoon edition of The Advertiser.
For us, this makes sense for several reasons.
First, our location gives us a unique advantage in being able to publish today's news from the Mainland.
In just the past few days, the denial of Timothy McVeigh's request for a stay of execution, President Bush's signing of the tax bill, the major league baseball draft and results of the French Open all happened in time for us to put the news in the PM edition.
Taking care of business
And there's always plenty of business news. We can get the closing stock market figures in our PM edition as well as news from Mainland and local companies, such as the recent announcement that Bank of Hawaii was embarking on a major restructuring. If interest rates drop, the market tanks or Alan Greenspan coughs, we'll get it in our PM edition.
Catering to our readers
Obviously there is also a competitive reason behind this, just as there was in 1946. In talking to readers over the years, we found that there are many people who like what they see in The Advertiser, but out of habit or lifestyle simply prefer getting an afternoon paper. So we thought it made sense to give committed afternoon readers a choice between our newspaper and our competitor.
Different but similar
The PM edition is not a wholly different paper than the morning edition, nor is it meant to be. It is simply an updated version of the morning paper, printed about 12 hours after the AM edition goes on the press.
We change an average of 15 pages of content between the morning and afternoon editions, primarily on Page 1, the Nation & World pages, and pages in the Hawai'i, Sports and Business sections. We've changed more than 25 pages on days when there is lots of news. Features sections like Island Life, Taste and Click! stay the same as in the morning edition, as do the editorial pages and advertising sections.
'A natural' for Hawai'i
From the positive responses I've received, I believe a PM edition of The Advertiser is a natural for our community.
At a time of gloomy predictions about the long-term future of newspapers, it's been a lot of fun to get the chance to catch history on the run 24 hours a day with our Web site and now with morning and afternoon editions.