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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 6, 2010

This job never got old, even after 29 years


By Bart Asato
Advertiser Assistant Sports Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bart Asato

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Editor's Note: Bart Asato has been The Advertiser Assistant Sports Editor since 1999. He started at The Advertiser in 1981 and has been a sports and news reporter, designer, copy editor and online content editor. He is a graduate of McKinley High School and the University of Hawai'i.

My first assignment for The Advertiser on Aug. 9, 1981, seemed simple enough: cover a Babe Ruth regional doubleheader at UH stadium.

After 6 hours of baseball the final out was made a half-hour before deadline.

"Dictate your story no time to write," said the editor on the other end of the phone connection.

With the help of that editor, I got my first byline the next day and was hooked.

I never became a beat reporter in sports or during my stint on city desk. I enjoyed doing general assignment because every day brought something new.

One day it would be writing about the first rubber ducky race down the Ala Wai; another day it would be covering a shooting in a high school classroom.

I took a quick look at some of my old clippings: Marcos. Waihee. Cayetano. Fasi. H-3. Jiezhao Li. New Year's Flood. Saturday night blackout in Waikiki. Hawai'i's first Miss America. Teenage inmates escape in a canoe. Videodiscs wave of the future (!). First-class postage raised to 25 cents. Punahou winning state high school titles. Some things never change.

I was always proud the sports and city staffs provided complete coverage on big stories.

My most memorable as a reporter were the airline tragedies of United 811 and Aloha 243.

I'll also always remember our managing editor, photographer and reporters running down Kapi'olani when we heard on the city desk that Tyke, the circus elephant, broke out of Blaisdell Center and was going down the streets of Kaka'ako.

Eventually I became an "inside" guy working as a copy editor, page designer and as assistant sports editor. We adapted from the days of getting a scoop for the next day's paper to getting it online first.

A few years back Stephen Tsai broke the story online about quarterback Colt Brennan returning for his senior year at UH instead of going pro.

Stephen whispered it to me 10 minutes before Colt's announcement and I posted it online using a laptop at the press conference. Almost immediately, we heard some of the other media say, "Advertiser has it online."

That story and the "live" online story we did from Stan Sheriff Center on UH's Sugar Bowl selection announcement were so popular that they crashed our website.

It's always been a team effort and a pleasure to work with a dedicated group of professionals at The Advertiser, many of whom have become good friends.

After 29 years, the business has never gotten old.