Star-Advertiser owner David Black was quoted in the first edition of his new newspaper as saying that he hoped to “put out a great newspaper.”

Of course it’s too early to judge whether he’ll be able to accomplish that goal. But one thing is clear after three days: His new newspaper is bigger and has more news than either of the papers it supplanted had.

I compared Wednesday’s news sections of the Star-Advertiser with the news sections of the old Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin from the same day a week ago.

What a difference a week makes.

This comparison doesn’t delve into the quality of the coverage. My focus is how much news and advertising a customer receives.

The verdict: About the same amount of local coverage as the old Advertiser. But a lot more space for stories from wire services.

Here’s what I found. Warning: it’ll be rough slogging, but worth it when you get to the end.

The Honolulu Advertiser from June 2, 2010.

  • The A and B sections totaled 24 pages, with 10 in the A and 14 in the B. The 24 pages included six pages of classified advertising.
  • The A section carried three locally written articles, plus seven stories from wire services. It also included 10 short wire items, either on news topics or gossipy people items. These are generally known as briefs. It included one locally written editorial, one local column, nine local letters and a cartoon and column from wire services. The section also included a weather report. The section had 28 ads.
  • The B section, or local news section known as the Hawaii section, included seven locally written articles, one local column and six short local items. It also had three local business stories, one wire story, and one local feature-type business column, plus three short local items, a gas price watch and today’s ship arrivals and departures (I loved that feature). It had a full page dedicated to the stock market. It had 16 ads, plus a handful of paid death notices.

The Star-Bulletin from June 2, 2010

The Star-Bulletin was published in a tabloid format, so its pages were smaller. It had 27 total pages dedicated to news, business and commentary. That doesn’t include 10 pages of legals/classifieds.

  • The paper included 11 locally-written articles, seven short items, one local editorial and one local column. I didn’t bother counting the wire stories. The Star-Bulletin used a lot of them.
  • The paper had 24 ads, plus death paid death notices.

Star-Advertiser

The paper had a 20-page A section and a 16-page B section, with six pages of legal advertising.

  • The A section included one local news article, two local columns, 18 articles from wire services, one local editorial, two short local editorials, seven local letters, two wire columns and a couple of short items. The section had 32 ads.
  • The local section had 10 local articles, one local column, seven short items and a standalone photo. The business section included three local stories, one local column, three local shorts, one wire short, one wire article, a markets page and the same short obituaries that appeared in both papers the previous week. The section had 17 ads.

Conclusion

I know I just gave you a mouthful of numbers. I apologize. So let me summarize.

  • ADVERTISING: The Star-Advertiser carried 49 ads in its news, business and commentary sections on Wednesday. The Advertiser on the same day last week carried 44. (I didn’t worry about the size of ads.) Verdict: Star-Advertiser up by five. No big difference in the scheme of things.

  • LOCAL CONTENT: The Star-Advertiser carried 14 local news/business articles and three local news/business columns. Plus seven short local items, a full-length editorial, two short editorials and seven local letters. The Advertiser on the same day carried 13 local news/business articles, two columns, 11 short items, one editorial and nine local letters. Verdict: Essentially equal on the local front.

  • SPACE: The Star-Advertiser definitely had more space for news and commentary. The Advertiser used about 1400 inches for all its news and commentary, or almost 12 pages. The Star-Advertiser used more than 2300 inches for the same content, or nearly 20 pages. Verdict: Star-Advertiser crushes. By using lots of wire service stories.

Obviously this is just a one-day comparison and needs to be taken as just that. But it gives a fair impression of what’s happened, on a quantifiable basis, at the start of the new paper.

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