The history of Saipan's first newspaper

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I HAVE enjoyed reading recent accounts of the establishment of Saipan's first newspaper.  The best factual and historical account was the letter from Floyd Takeuchi in Hawaii which mentioned the Marianas Star that I started in 1970.  Now I would like to expand his account a bit because starting a newspaper in those days was no easy task. 

First, there were great challenges such as trying to build an advertising base.  Too often in those days local businessmen would tell me, "Why should I advertise?  Everybody knows me and my store."  So it often took a great deal of persuasion.  Remember, these were the days before tourists began coming to Saipan, which was about a decade later. 

Second, was the challenge of trying to get a printing press with no money.  So decided to literally "rub two sticks together" and try to make something happen.  I went to see the late Joe Tenorio at his office in Susupe one morning.  Lucky for me we struck a deal and about an hour later we were telephoning a printing press dealer in Honolulu.  Joeten liked my idea and he loaned me the funds and I agreed to pay him back in weekly advertisements.  About a week later, a table-top press arrived on an Air Micronesia flight from Hawaii.  And fortunately, other local business owners like the late Manny Villagomez, Olympio T. Borja and several others joined in.  But those were "hungry days" in my recollection because of so few businesses on the island. 

Third, I didn't know much about printing.  By this time I had visited the Trust Territory government's print shop on Capital Hill and asked for help.   The shop manager, Gerald McPherson, liked my idea and arranged for his foreman, Danny Camacho of San Roque to help me, along with Pete Togawa.  "Mac" also sold me some paper that we could print on — on credit.  Danny taught me how to operate the press and Pete Togawa taught me about photography so I could process photos for the paper.  My right-hand man in running things in the earliest days was Ben Taman Camacho.  Two PCVs also helped in the evenings, Jim Peters and his wife, who would come over and help out with the typing and other chores. 

Two years later I was a bit worn out and very tired of not making any money since my two years of Peace Corps living allowance was over.  I really liked Saipan and planned to stay but I needed a job that could pay a salary.  Soon after that the Guam Daily News contacted me and offered me a job to cover the Trust Territory from Saipan.  So I turned over the newspaper operation free-of-charge to Abed Younis.  He was a newcomer on the island then and he had graphic arts skills, much better than mine.  He was able to do plenty of "job printing" which helped support the paper in the early days. 

The rest is history.   I could have never done all this myself.  It took building new friendships, making new connections, and a lot of good will from a lot of fine people.  That's how Saipan's first newspaper was started. 

Sincerely,

MIKE MALONE

Apex, North Carolina

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