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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Honolulu Civil Beat is a for-profit online news organization covering Hawaii.

Civil Beat is a project of Peer News, a company founded in 2008 by eBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar and Randy Ching. It was announced in November 2009 and launched in May 2010. It has a staff of 12, initially led by John Temple, former editor of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, though he left in April 2012 to become the Washington Post’s managing editor. The organization opened a Washington bureau in summer 2011.

Civil Beat charges for much of its content, a strategy that has drawn some skepticism. The site charges $9.99 for full access, down from its initial fee of $19.99 per month. Access also includes daily email summaries and admission to events. It has also shifted from a hard paywall to a metered model.

Civil Beat specializes in coverage of local and state politics, education, land, and money. The site is oriented toward coverage of issues rather than breaking news, though it does use its Twitter account for breaking-news coverage. It also includes dozens of topic pages on local issues.

Omidyar has said his goal with the site is to “create the new civic square.” To that end, discussion is a central part of Civil Beat’s strategy, with its journalists — called “reporter hosts” — actively participating in comment threads on the site.

In 2013, Civil Beat partnered with The Huffington Post to launch HuffPost Hawaii, a site managed by Civil Beat that would shortened versions of its local coverage as well as cultural coverage aimed at travelers from the U.S. and Japan.

The site also runs the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, which works to help the media and public get access to public information.

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Honolulu Civil Beat, after six years of trying life as a for-profit, is becoming a nonprofit after all — The Honolulu Civil Beat, the six-year-old Hawaii-based news site launched by Pierre Omidyar, is becoming a nonprofit, the organization said Wednesday. It’s dropping its metered paywall and introducing a membership ...
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Trouble in paradise? How the struggles of two Hawaiian paywalls reflect larger industry trends — It was billed as the Pugnacious Polynesian Paywall Punch-Up. Honolulu Civil Beat, a local news site backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, launched in 2010 with an ad-free business model built on digital subscriptions. A...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: October 2, 2013.
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