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Unpaid Subscriptions, 1845.

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Hoku o Hawaii published on, April 1, 1915.

Stephen Langhern Desha, editor of the Hilo newspaper Ka Hoku o Hawaii appeals to conscience of his readership to try and get them to pay for their subscriptions. He was well aware of the many papers that went defunct because subscriptions were not paid. Hoku o Hawaii would often remind their readers to pay for the life of the paper. It would also publish lists of those who did pay. It ran for 42 years and was the second longest running Hawaiian language newspaper behind Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, which ran for 66 years.

Image:  KE OLA O KA HOKU.” Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Aperila 1, 1915, p. 2.


We frequently bring up matters pertaining to the well-being of this Hoku newspaper of ours, and this perhaps has become something some of our readership feels annoyed about. But it cannot be avoided, for it is these expenses that allow us to carry out this occupation that we patiently work at. The newspaper employees perform their duties, and it is right that we pay them for their labor. There are other expenses that we must pay for, like the cost of paper and printing, and it is right that those expenses be paid for. The money used to pay for those expenses comes from the hands of the subscribers of the Hoku. And reminding the subscribers of their debts to the Hoku helps keep the Hoku alive, so that it continues to pass through the doors of the homes of the Natives of the land. The Hoku continues to fight for the welfare of the Natives of the land, and therefore, is it not right to remember its well-being?

This request of ours that we ask in the columns of the Hoku, it is a valid request, and we urge those who remain in debt to the life of the Hoku. If we change their way of thinking, and suppose those who remain in debt to the life of the Hoku took the place of the one doing the work, and they take on this great task. If the well-being of the paper which they are in charge of is not paid for, how will they feel about it?

Will that not be something that makes them continue to encourage and ask of those who remain in debt to remember their debts?

The lack of consideration of some of us for what is fair, that is what causes the death of some of the enlightening newspapers of ours. It is important that we work together at efforts that will benefit our land and our beloved lāhui.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

(Hoku o Hawaii, 4/1/1915, p. 2)

Image:  Portrait of Stephen Kiwini Langhern Desha, Editor and Business Manager of Ka Hoku o Hawaii, “Men of Hawaii,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Limited. p. 84.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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