Maui island's first newspaper, the Maui News, has been continuously published in Wailuku, Maui in English since February 17, 1900. George B. Robertson edited the four-page, six-column weekly until 1905, when it was sold to The Maui Publishing Company, Ltd. Prominent Maui citizens Henry P. Baldwin, John Norman Spencer Williams, Carl Waldeyer, and Daniel Hebard Case formed the publishing company to purchase and run the paper. C.L. Clement (1905), Hugh M. Coke (1905-1910), and William J. Cooper (1914-1920) were among the paper’s subsequent editors during its early years.
Editor Robertson outlined his goals for the Maui News in the first issue: “Independent in politics, religion and literature, it will advocate first the interests of Maui, next those of the islands at large, and what time and space may be left will be devoted to regulating the affairs of this world generally.” The most significant local news item on the paper’s founding was the spread of the bubonic plague--which by that time had caused six deaths. Over the next few months, Robertson reported on the plague and efforts to contain and eradicate it. He also included a variety of other local and international news, editorials, literary and entertainment pieces, and shipping schedules.
In its early years the Maui News depicted an island community in the throes of change, as the sugar and pineapple industries rapidly altered the island’s geographic, economic, political, and cultural landscape. The need for plantation labor attracted migrants from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and beyond--and they were often the subject of openly racist stories and opinion pieces. The Maui News also reported on the establishment of new businesses and the many construction and development projects that were materializing around the island. Politically, the paper was conservative and mirrored the views of the Republican majority, and its slogan remained “A Republican Paper” until April 1950.
In the 1960s and 1970s, possibly due to the arrival of counterculturists, most from the continental United States, the Maui News expanded beyond its original conservative views. In 1969, the paper reported on the bombing of the island of Kahoʻolawe, which the U.S. military had used as a training ground and bombing range since 1941. Maui residents were upset over the close proximity of the explosions to Maui, and the Maui News encouraged the military to stop the bombing, which it did in 1990.
In 1924, Frances Baldwin (granddaughter and daughter of then-owners Harry and Henry Baldwin) married J. Walter Cameron of Boston. By 1935, Cameron was the director of The Maui Publishing Company. The Maui News would remain in the Cameron family as the last locally owned major daily paper in Hawai‘i until December 1999, when it was sold to Ogden Newspapers, Inc., of Wheeling, West Virginia. The Maui News is still published today; it appears daily except Saturday and includes an online edition.