More than 11,000 copies of an eight-page Preview Edition of the MauiTimes is being mailed to past advertisers and local businesses, as well as being available for free at more than 100 high-foot-traffic locations around Maui.
The first full edition of the new publication, along with a companion daily digital website, will launch Sept. 9.
The re-launch is led by MauiTime founder Tommy Russo, 48, and J. Sam Weiss, 65, who will serve as the new publisher/executive editor. Weiss is chairman and owner of 6035 Media, a Colorado company that publishes eight newspapers and companion websites. He relocated to Maui late last year to help coordinate the re-launch.
Nearly 80,000 copies of the first, 48-page print edition will arrive in local mailboxes as well as on the streets throughout Maui County on Thursday, Sept. 9, making it Hawaii’s largest-circulation news publication.
Russo explained, “When we had to pause publishing because of the islands’ economic slowdown, it was infuriating. Critical stories, especially about the pandemic, needed to be told. But there was no way to get the truth out. Now, we have the capacity to keep locals and visitors well informed about not only the news, but also about Maui’s rich arts and cultural happenings.”
Weiss added: “We added an ‘s’ to our publication’s name to signify that we’ll offer everything Tommy has always offered, plus a lot more. In addition to investigative reporting and the most comprehensive arts, culture and calendar coverage around, we are expanding business, education, sports and community coverage.”
The new organization already has twice the staff of its predecessor and still has a half dozen full- and part-time openings to fill.
With the exception of Weiss, every other MauiTimes employee has long-term connections with the Valley Isle, with three-quarters of the staff having lived in Hawaii for decades.
“The battle for clicks, eyeballs and dollars isn’t unique to Hawaii. “Great stories are everywhere, waiting to be told,” Weiss said. Our formula is simple. Provide fairly reported, in-depth content that readers really want about our local community. Hire talented local reporters, editors, designers and sales executives who all believe in the importance of great community journalism. Get print and digital editions into readers’ hands. The best way to do that is to make it free.”
In addition to mailing the paper to all 51,000 homes, condos, apartments and other residencies on Maui, Molokai and Lana’i, all 6,000 incorporated local businesses are being mailed MauiTimes.
More than 21,000 additional copies will be distributed for free at 240 high-traffic locations, especially those frequented by visitors such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, car rental companies and bars.
“Our broad, countywide reach will make our news magazine and digital platforms cost-effective vehicles for local businesses and nonprofits to promote their goods and services,” said Russo. “We are also bringing back a help wanted section, since so many local organizations have openings.”
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