Covering Tūtū Pele in the social media age

Mileka Lincoln ’02 wins Emmy for Kīlauea eruption coverage

Mileka Lincoln ’02

On May 3, 2018, Hawai‘i News Now reporter Mileka Lincoln ’02 was stationed at Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park when rock fall, ash, and smoke signaled the onset of a major eruption event. She was soon on the scene in Leilani Estates where, over the next two-and-a-half months, lava from Kīlauea would consume 700 homes, as well as many farms, roads, and beloved recreational sites.

Throughout the event, Lincoln garnered praise for her sensitive and comprehensive coverage, and now, she and the Hawai‘i News Now team have earned an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement Evening Newscast.”

In the wake of this remarkable achievement, Lincoln remains reverent for the volcanic forces of nature and for the strength and resilience of the Hawaiian people. “I dedicate this Emmy to all the beautiful people of Puna,” she said. “We are a volcanic people. For generations upon generations we have witnessed the evolution and creation of new landscape. With each eruption, I humbly and firmly believe, our people grow more resilient, and our connection to the natural elements that sustain our life grows stronger. It is a reverence and aloha that is shared and felt around the world. Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo.”

During the long days of the eruption, Lincoln’s coverage extended well beyond the standard headline-grabbing themes to offer useful information to residents in real time—about evacuations, how to file FEMA claims, and local community meetings. She balanced breaking news and science with a sense of compassion, respect, and cultural knowledge that her followers deeply appreciated. As one of them posted, “I can feel your heart when you speak because this is your native land. Mahalo for sharing so others who don’t know of Madame Pele can understand.”

Mileka Lincoln ’02 wins Emmy
Mileka Lincoln ’02 wins Emmy for Outstanding Achievement Evening Newscast.

Lincoln is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, where she worked her way up through the ranks of ATVN, the student-run news station. After graduation, she landed a reporting job in Laredo, TX, followed by a stint in San Antonio and then Austin, where she anchored a brand-new morning show.

In 2013, Lincoln was thrilled to accept her current post with Hawaii News Now (KHNL/KGMB/KFVE) and to return home. Born and raised in Waimea, she lives on O‘ahu, but visits Hawai‘i Island regularly to see family and friends. Her mother, Luana Lincoln, works for HPA’s Isaacs Art Center, while her sister, Pualani Lincoln-Maielua, teaches social studies at the Upper School. Lincoln’s nephews, ‘Ahu‘ulaakeawe Maielua ’29, Kūmanō Maielua ’30, and Keakamahana Maielua ’31 are carrying on the family tradition of Ka Makani.

For now, Kīlauea is at rest, and Lincoln is back to her customary assignments, at least for the time being. “I’ve been a reporter and anchor for more than a decade,” she says, “and I’ve never felt more fulfilled than I do now that I’m back home reporting in Hawai’i and sharing the stories of my community. I am extremely blessed to do what I love, in the place that I love, in service to those I love.”