Civil Beat is constantly looking for ways to engage readers and keep them interested in the important issues facing Hawaii. One way more and more people are tuning in to news, events and issues is through podcasts.

Nearly 40 percent of people in the U.S. age 12 and older say they are podcast listeners and 21 percent report listening in just the past month. More and more millennials are downloading podcasts on all sorts of topics and younger readers are certainly a group we are hoping to encourage to become engaged in the community.

So we’ve launched a new podcast that brings stories from Hawaii to the rest of the world. Sometimes being in the middle of nowhere can give you a good perspective on everywhere else.

Jessica Terrell, right, and April Estrellon work on the podcast in Civil Beat's new sound studio.

Jessica Terrell, right, and April Estrellon work on the podcast in Civil Beat’s new sound studio.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Our first season of “Offshore” explores race and power through two killings in Hawaii, 80 years apart. The death of Joseph Kahahawai in 1932 at the hands of a Navy officer, Lt. Thomas Massie, and his mother-in-law has long been seen as an assertion of military and white influence over less politically powerful Native Hawaiians. In 2011, a white federal agent shot and killed a local man during the APEC economic summit. Christopher Deedy has gone to trial twice for the killing of Kollin Elderts, and could face a third. 

This 10-episode season uses those two cases to reflect on how ethnic unrest is still playing out in Hawaii, the most multicultural state and a place President Obama has called a “post-racial” melting pot. It directly relates to the issues of race and power we’re seeing on the mainland with what seems like a continual stream of police shootings of people of color. If Hawaii can’t figure it out, what hope is there for the rest of America? The answer might surprise you.

“Offshore” is a production of Civil Beat and PRX, the nation’s largest public radio distribution marketplace whose projects include the hit series “The Moth Radio Hour.” Upcoming seasons are expected to look at the clash of science and culture through the Mauna Kea telescope dispute and how hard it has been for Hawaii to solve the lack of a sustainable food supply.

Civil Beat Editor Patti Epler, left, and reporter Jessica Terrell learned to be audio reporters for the new Offshore podcast. First field reporting trip: the Kalihi cemetery where Joseph Kahahawai is buried.

Civil Beat Editor Patti Epler, left, and reporter Jessica Terrell learned to be audio reporters for the new “Offshore” podcast. First field reporting trip: the Kalihi cemetery where Joseph Kahahawai is buried.

Ben Adair/Civil Beat

This is a new way of storytelling for Civil Beat, which has always primarily delivered our news through traditional written stories published online. Now, we’ve learned how to report, write and produce long-form audio stories and we’ve invested in new equipment, including a portable sound studio (let us know if you need a place to record!).

Jessica Terrell, our education reporter who caught the podcast bug when she produced an audio report for her project on “The Harbor,” a Waianae homeless camp, has been doing double duty as our podcast reporter, producer and host of the show. April Estrellon, who has produced Chad Blair’s Pod Squad for the past year or so, has become a full-time audio and visual multimedia producer who works on “Offshore” as well as other projects. Los Angeles-based public radio veteran Ben Adair has proved invaluable in leading us through this first effort — training staff, advising on the storytelling and producing the show.

But the success of “Offshore” will depend in large part on how audiences respond to it. So please go to your favorite podcast channel — iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or Spotify, for instance — and subscribe to “Offshore.” You can also find the podcast at www.offshorepodcast.com, but we really could use your help with downloading it and sharing it so others will download it too. Please rate it and write a review! Those are both important in the podcast world.

We always like to say “thanks for reading Civil Beat.” But now we’re also saying “thanks for listening to Civil Beat.”

Download “Offshore” on iTunes here.

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