A diverse and inspired team leads UH Hilo’s student-run news publication, Ke Kalahea

The diverse staff at Ke Kalahea, made up of students with different interests and backgrounds, is creating a publication reflective of the most diverse four-year public university in the country.  

By Alyssa Mathews. Photos by Raiatea Arcuri.

Group photo of staff.
The staff at Ke Kalahea offices, Campus Center, UH Hilo. Front row (l-r): Jenna Pontes-Borje, Kristine Liz Lucrida, Kasumi Collins, Holly Trowbridge, and Mirei Sugita. Back row (l-r): Zach Gottlieb, Rosannah Gosser, Peter “Holden” Chao, Elijah Kahula, Leah Wyzykowski, and Clara Scheidle. Photos by Raiatea Arcuri/UH Hilo Stories, click to enlarge.

Every Friday from 12:00 to 3:00 pm, the staff of Ke Kalahea, the student-run news publication at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, hosts News and Brews, where students are invited to come to Campus Center to drink coffee, share stories, and discuss events happening on campus.

The student paper has been around for decades, put together to inform, entertain, and bring to light different things on campus. It’s published in both hard copy (glossy magazine) and online formats by a diverse team of writers, copy editors, photographers, photography editors, layout designers, layout editors, graphics artists, calendar editors, social media managers, and webmasters who make their vision come to life.

This semester, the staff is made up of students with different interests and backgrounds creating a publication that is both accessible to, and representative of, a wide audience. This makes sense at the most diverse four-year public university in the country, a ranking given to UH Hilo by the Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this semester.

“It’s important for us to acknowledge that everyone has a very different vision,” says Peter “Holden” Chao, a geology and natural science major serving as the paper’s editor since last year. “Taking their views and being creative has been something we’re trying to do. What we’ve tried to do is highlight people and things that are ongoing, both good and bad.”

Some of the staff outside Campus Center.
Some of the Ke Kalahea staff gather for a photo outside Campus Center. (Left to right standing) Jenna Pontes-Borje, Leah Wyzykowski, Kasumi Collins, Kaipo McKeague, George Donev, and Elijah Kahula. Below is editor Peter “Holden” Chao. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri/UH Hilo Stories Nov. 9, 2018.

Working at Ke Kalahea gives students a chance to learn and gain experience operating a newspaper publication, not the least of which is developing skills in journalism and storytelling.

“Journalism to me is the art of writing the truth,” says business major Elijah Kahula, a writer for Ke Kalahea. “I think we all aspire to become masters of this art in one form or another. We’re trying to push toward that by having the skill, the passion, and the vocation to really make it to that next artistic plane.”

The students working at Ke Kalahea encourage inclusivity and open their doors to everyone.

“I think we do a good job of not making it exclusive,” Kahula says. “Anyone can walk in here and anyone can contribute if they have an editorial idea or something like that, it’s open to submission.”

Cover of Ke Kalahea showing Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony.
Current issue of Ke Kalahea, click image to see issue.

The paper provides a way for student needs to be addressed through commentaries and articles.

“It allows a voice for people who are struggling to find a way,” says marine science major Kasumi Collins, a layout editor. “Maybe you see something on campus and you don’t know who to talk to about it, but you have the newspaper. It creates a place to go to where you can talk about your concerns and have someone look into this. As a community on this campus, it’s important for us because we all also go to this school.”

Ke Kalahea wasn’t on Collins’s radar last semester, but now the budding layout editor is all in. “I think that having an actual, accessible, online paper that is actually publishing things all the time, as well as having News and Brews every Friday and having activities so that people can come into the office and see that we’re actual people, is huge.”

The staff is enjoying the diversity of their team.

“I think that this semester has definitely been the most successful, out of all three that I’ve worked, simply because we have a bigger team, more variety, and so many different backgrounds,” says layout editor Kaipo McKeague, a geography and environmental studies major. “We’re growing more, getting more and more known.”

Through the paper, the staff is able to share their perspectives and speak up for the students at UH Hilo by creating a diverse and open publication.

“This is a sum of all of our parts,” says editor Chao. “Ke Kalahea in a certain sense is kind of like a small family.”

New and Brews

The next News and Brews is on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, noon to 3:00 p.m. at Campus Center room 202-A. The talk-story session is open to all students with a valid UH Hilo ID.


About the author of this story: Alyssa Mathews is a freshman at UH Hilo planning to major in business with a marketing concentration. She graduated from Waiakea High School and is a UH Hilo Chancellor’s Scholar.

About the photographer: Raiatea Arcuri is a professional photographer majoring in business at UH Hilo. He was awarded USA Young Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 (read his blog post about the winning photograph).