Small Talk

This blog wins Society of Professional Journalists 2015 awards

July 1st, 2016

Every June, the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists holds its awards banquet for all media. It announces winners of the previous calendar year's stories.


This year it coincided with my last day at KHON2, which was a nice way to cap the day. I won three awards for my Honolulu Star-Advertiser blogs.

Goofing around with Jai.

Goofing around with Jai.

It's a peer-judged competition so I'm truly honored to be recognized for my efforts. The stories were profiles on newscaster Jai Cunningham (a first and a second place), and musician Tracy Terada (a second place).

Trey and sons Quentin and Dillon

Trey and sons Quentin and Dillon

Jai, by the way, earned his real estate license since I wrote about him, and now has a second job at iProperties. He's so engaged and energetic, I have no idea how he does it - but he does! He's a powerhouse!

Real estate agent Jai Cunningham!

Real estate agent Jai Cunningham!

He told me he was excited about the award too, because it validates and recognizes his message. I agree, and still remain awed by his bravery in sharing his tragedy... and triumph.


Over my tenure, he and I became close friends, and I walk away from KHON2 with gratitude for that, as well as for the other dear friendships I formed. You walk into a new situation and you never know how it will play out.

Things I thought would occur, didn't; and vice versa. Life keeps you guessing, huh?

Me and my Kaniele`a ukulele

Me and my Kaniele`a ukulele

Trey is still teaching and now working on developing an online `ukulele classroom, which he hopes to launch live later in 2016. "Other than that, fatherhood has been occupying my time," he updates.

I'm sorry to say I ran out of energy to keep up the lessons, and Olivia lost interest. I really liked it, and perhaps now I'll have the time to pick up again. Either way, I am glad for those months that Trey taught us. One thing is for sure: I came away with a stronger friendship with a great guy.

More about Trey at

Posted in Career | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “This blog wins Society of Professional Journalists 2015 awards”

  1. rayboyjr:

    Hey Diane ... congratulations!!! ... well deserved ... as I enjoy your blog a lot ...

    ... your on-air personality tends to overshadow the fact that you got skills with writing too ...

    ... maybe you could combine your video experience and blogging skills, into your own website or YouTube channel or something like that ... and include your daughter in your adventures too ...

  2. Diane Ako:

    rayboyjr - Thanks and that's so nice of you to say! I was a writer before I was anything else. It's cathartic and a way to give order to the world around me. I don't know about doing a You Tube thing. Right now I'm obsessed with consuming content rather than creating it. I'm really getting my money's worth out of my Netflix account. Ha!

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