Civil Beat wants to hear from you as we build a knowledge base for the community.

There is so much confusion in the days, weeks and months after a disaster like the fires that scorched Maui communities. Emotions are running high for all of us, and a great deal of misinformation is being circulated on social media and through the coconut wireless.

As journalists, we seek to shine light on objective truth, and I believe the most important work we do in our careers is equipping you with information in times like these.

It’s why we’re launching a new project to answer your questions about the Maui fires as we navigate recovery efforts. You can fill out the form below or text “news” (without quotes) to 808-515-3337 to sign up for text message updates and send me your questions.

Hawaii National Guardsmen walk Front Street searching for people Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. They mark buildings and vehicles to indicate if people were located in an initial, no-entry search. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
The Maui wildfires have generated a deluge of information, but major questions remain unanswered. Civil Beat will work on providing answers where it can. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

I promise to read your questions and look into as many as I can — especially where we might meet the needs of a number of readers. Please keep in mind that we are very busy at the moment fielding messages from across the world and trying to keep our readers updated with the most current details.

Answers will be posted in a guide to frequently asked questions. I’ve already compiled several questions that our team has encountered online or in conversations with you.

We may highlight certain questions with particularly complex answers in news coverage, too. Longtime readers may recall a similar initiative in the early days of the pandemic.

  • Behind The Story

We’ll start ramping up capacity on this initiative in the days to come, and it’s our hope to build this out to become a comprehensive resource guide in the weeks ahead.

We call this sort of thing “service journalism” because we’re seeking to provide a public service that provides real, practical help for our neighbors. This fits right in with our mission here at Civil Beat — we strive to be watchdogs of the public’s trust and be a trusted partner, not just arms-length observers.

This idea was the brainchild of deputy editor Matthew Leonard, who’s worked on similar projects in his career. He’ll be guiding our work on this initiative, and we’re both looking forward to hearing from you.

A little bit about me: I’ve covered several destructive wildfires as a reporter in California, my home state. I know what it’s like to stay home from school on fire days and spend the whole day glued to local news reports, feeling hopeless as first responders buzz overhead in helicopters and images pour in of homes destroyed in nearby communities. There are few issues closer to my heart, and I hope I can be of some help.

Please consider sharing a link to this column with anyone you know who’s been personally affected — these are the people we’re especially interested in hearing from. Our hearts go out to you, and we hope this proves to be a useful resource as all of us process this next phase of the disaster response.

And remember: If it sounds too crazy to be true, sometimes it is. Do your research before passing rumors along, and let us help you decipher fact from fiction.

Ask Civil Beat A Question

Maui Fire Q&A
Are you open to being contacted by a reporter for further information or insight?
If yes, please provide your name and the best way to contact you.
If yes, please provide your name and the best way to contact you.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

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