Friday, April 22, 2005

Um...we can't do that? Aloha and goodbye to that!

Akamai -Aloha -Hiapo -Hauoli -illegal -inappropriate -Kahu -Kahuna - Koa -Kumu -
Kupuna -Kuuipo -Lani - Lehua -Luna -Mahalo -Maikai - Makana -Makua - Moopuna - Puuwai
Tutu -Waipahe - BIG DEAL!

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz
Erika Engle
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

‘60 Minutes’ producer sought travel discounts, bureau says

A new ethical sticky wicket may surface at CBS News. An e-mail received by the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau last week from "60 Minutes Producer" Ira Rosen solicited discounted media rates for an upcoming family vacation.

Seeking and taking such discounts for personal and, in many cases work-related, travel would be a violation of widely accepted ethical standards for journalists.

"Ira is seeking media rates for hotel accommodations on both Kauai and Maui," the visitors bureau then e-mailed to public relations agency McNeil Wilson Communications Inc.

"He is also interested in Kauai vendors who provide outdoor activity rental equipment such as fishing charters, bikes, RV's etc."

Vendors interested in providing a media rate were encouraged to contact Rosen at his e-mail address.

CBS denied wrongdoing by Rosen.

"I can assure you that our producer was not seeking any special treatment. This was a complete misunderstanding," said "60 Minutes" publicist Kelly Edwards.

But after reviewing Rosen's initial contact, Darlene Morikawa, the visitors bureau's manager of public relations and communications, maintained that Rosen asked for a discount due to his position.

"He did ask for a media rate," Morikawa said.

The bureau referred Rosen's e-mail to public relations agency McNeil Wilson. The bureau doesn't dole out taxpayer-funded travel to vacationing journalists.

"We don't support it financially using our marketing budget, but as a consideration, we sent it out to our marketing colleagues," said Morikawa.

Journalists have to be working on Hawaii-related coverage to be considered for financial support, said Nathan Kam, McNeil Wilson travel and tourism account supervisor.

"In this case he made it clear he was on vacation. ... We were contacted, he made a formal request to us, we put it out to our members and it's up to them to assist if they can," Kam said.
If a member of the media is on assignment, such requests "either come to McNeil Wilson or the internal public relations manager at the bureau for review ... to decide whether we can assist or not or whether it makes sense for us to get involved."

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:

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