Winners of the Carol Burnett Award for Responsible Journalism: Alex Bitter, Marc Arakaki, Paige Takeya, Caitlin Kelly and Davin Aoyagi.
Five Ka Leo editors have earned awards from the Carol Burnett Fund for Responsible Journalism for 2012-2013. The program is sponsored by the Journalism Program in the School of Communications.
“The award winners exemplify high ethical standards in their coverage of important issues at the UH community,” said Professor Ann Auman at a ceremony on May 2 honoring the students. Auman is administrator of the fund. These students were awarded $1,500 each.
Marc Arakaki, Editor-in-Chief, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Spring 2013 / Sports Editor, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Fall 2011 - Fall 2012.
Arakaki has produced more than 160 videos, 150 print stories and 100 plus web stories in his four years at Ka Leo. He has been exemplary as a team player and in diversifying the newspaper's editorial mission to boost circulation. He embraces new technologies for story telling and their dispersal through the web within 90 minutes of each event conclusions and always maintains the highest ethical principles for himself and staff.
Davin Aoyagi, Editor-in-Chief, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Summer/Fall 2012.
Aoyagi initiated a comprehensive intern program that brought five high school editors to Ka Leo during the summer 2012 that enabled them to get training, meet professionals, and write stories for the weekly summer issues, Ka Leo website, and special issues. He also coordinated Ka Leo's comprehensive coverage of Hawai‘i State Legislature hearings into a bungled Stevie Wonder concert that resulted in losses to the university exceeding $1 million. And he challenged university administrators in Page One editorials to take responsibility for their foibles.
Paige Takeya, Managing Editor, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Spring 2013 / Chief Copy Editor, Fall 2012.
Every news organization needs someone to keep its pieces working together. Takeya is the glue, whose continuing work as a copy editor ensures timely posts to the Ka Leo website. She developed an intern system for copy editors to make sure the newspaper always was training and integrating new staff for a desk with a high turnover. She took on InDesign to support the team when it experienced a shortage of designers. She fills in when other editors are unable to do their job. She is willing to defend in print higher standards for the university community, while also writing a popular blog about video games for Ka Leo.
Caitlin Kelly, News Editor, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Spring 2013 / Associate News Editor, Fall 2012.
Kelly served as editor of Mililani High School's newspaper, The Trojan, before coming to Mānoa in the summer before her freshman year to be one of five interns supervised by then editor Davin Aoyagi. Caitlin had an interest in news and always was willing to accept feedback to improve her work. She earned a position as an Associate News Editor and then became News Editor in the spring and has conducted interviews with Chancellor Tom Apple, UH System President M.R.C. Greenwood, Myanmar opposition party leader Aung San Suu Ky, among others.
Alex Bitter, Associate News Editor, Ka Leo O Hawai‘i, Spring 2013 / Staff Writer, Fall 2012.
Bitter came to Ka Leo after working with Waiākea High School's online newspaper. He and Kelly were two reporters willing to write about campus news. His reports included election night coverage, the winning campus debate team, new indigenous health graduate program, daily news summaries for the web, analysis of new car-sharing program, Hamilton Library's low ranking, and problems with the Kuali fiscal management system.
The Carol Burnett Fund for Responsible Journalism was endowed by the long-time TV actress and part-time Hawai‘i resident following her successful libel suit against the National Enquirer. The fund supports “teaching and research designed to further high standards of ethics and professionalism in journalism, and for awards to outstanding students who have demonstrated a strong sense of journalistic responsibility and integrity.”
In 1982, Burnett sued the tabloid newspaper, The National Enquirer, for libel and won after the Enquirer described her alleged public drunkenness, purportedly with Henry Kissinger. She donated a portion of the $800,000 award to the University of Hawai‘i.