Pattaya Mail marks 25 years of dedicated service and commitment to the community

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Peter Malhotra (1993).
Peter Malhotra (1993).

A little over twenty-fiveyears ago when I decided to step into the world of newspaper publishing, everyone, especially my family wondered whether I had lost my mind. But I had already decided that the newspaper would be published and I was not about to change my mind.

In the weeks that it took to produce that first issue, Chuck Pringle had filled the gap as Editor and a young American, Dan Dorothy, had been asked to step in to cover the Sports Writer’s position, as the original writer had been posted overseas. An even younger Austrian, Andy Gombaez, who was on his way to Hollywood to be a cartoonist stumbled into our office where he became a part of our family for many years.

That the first issue, dated 23rd July 1993, ever made the streets is a wonder on its own. More amazingly, every week there was a Pattaya Mail. Dan Dorothy would ask Chuck as he brought in his sports articles, “Do you think you’ll still need anything next week?” But he did, and Dan kept on supplying.

Denis D. Gray, Chief of Bureau, Associated Press, Bangkok (left) and Pattaya Mail Managing Director Peter Malhotra sign an agreement, making Pattaya Mail the first newspaper in Thailand outside of Bangkok to join the AP family.
Denis D. Gray, Chief of Bureau, Associated Press, Bangkok (left) and Pattaya Mail Managing Director Peter Malhotra sign an agreement, making Pattaya Mail the first newspaper in Thailand outside of Bangkok to join the AP family.

Chuck still smiles and says, “We can look back and laugh at some of our agonies. But of this we can be proud; we maintained our stance and told the truth. There were times when that became very difficult. Pressure was brought to bear by corrupt policemen, influential persons on whose toes we had trod, disgruntled local politicians whose inefficiency or wrong doings we exposed, but we followed the principle of that great publisher Hearst, ‘Publish and be damned’.”

It has not just been the power-brokers who have been sometimes upset. In 1995, after publishing stories on the local ‘mafia’ I was the subject of a serious assault and battery. Pattaya Mail had enough growing pains without giving me physical pains as well!

Eventually the weekly work load became too much for Chuck and he needed out. This was the next major change in the paper. Dan Dorothy dropped his copy in one evening and I dropped the question, “Hey Dan, do you want to be the Editor?” Dan agreed he would try it for two weeks, and that was 23 years ago.

Dan believes, “There’s no paper like us in the world. It is unique in the fact that it is all locally written but with international appeal. We are not restricted like the ‘big boys’. We are restricted only by our conscience.”

The opportunity the staff have been given here is such that it breeds loyalty. As he said with a grin, “After all, I’m a lobster fisherman from Harpswell, Maine – where else could I be an Editor?” Where else indeed, but there is also another saying, that Talent Will Out!

Dan has overseen growth and consolidation which has continued through to today. Our priority of presenting readable editorial material has helped maintain the quality of the paper. Our commitment has made people realise the fact that we have a precious jewel here and we must guard and nurture it.

In our continuing effort to explore new ways to upgrade our newspaper, on Friday, November 23, 2001 the Pattaya Mail joined the Associated Press family. Thus began yet another new chapter in Pattaya Mail history. Then bureau chief of AP Bangkok Denis D. Gray said, “The Associated Press has been around since 1848, has enjoyed a very strong presence in Bangkok for decades, but not until we signed a contract last Friday with the Pattaya Mail did the world’s largest news organization enjoy exposure in Thailand’s provincial areas. That day we were proud to offer our news and photo services to this key and expanding news outlet on the Eastern Seaboard.”

The first page of the first issue of Pattaya Mail comes off the printer back in 1993.
The first page of the first issue of Pattaya Mail comes off the printer back in 1993.

In 2002 we launched the Pattaya Blatt newspaper in the German language and also the Chiang Mai Mail to serve the north of Thailand. At this point we transformed into the Pattaya Mail Media Group.

Asked, why am I doing this, my answer is still the same today as it was 25 years ago. I have a passion for information. I have a passion for learning, and I have a desire that others have an opportunity to learn too. It has taught me to strive for perfection, not letting up even if sometimes never being able to accomplish it. But it has also taught me to persevere and keep trying, again and again.

Pattaya Mail does business with the highest levels of integrity and honesty. We believe in keeping the economy rolling. Let the people have an opportunity to trade their unwanted articles through the pages of our paper. This in turn encourages others to do the same. The economy thrives.

Pattaya Mail is always at the forefront when it comes to serving the community, in any way or form. Our newspaper is made available to be of use if it will help in any way, directly or indirectly, to alleviate the hardships of others. This has been one of my greatest satisfactions.

We are aware that the print media is going through some tough challenges, but those of us who persevere are proving that the print media still has a steady and bright future.

We are much more advanced and have taken giant leaps into the world of digital media. Everything that we publish in the paper is reproduced on our websites and linked to our Daily Newsletter and all our Facebook pages. Yes we are joining the must flow with the times, innovate and ‘get on the bandwagon’ times.

The Eastern Mass Media Association awarded the Pattaya Mail Media Group with the “Best in the East” recognition for 18 straight years. On presenting the most recent award, the former governor of Chonburi commended us for “ethics and morality” providing news and updates that “bring the world to Pattaya”. We were also cited for excellence in our online news portals including all our websites and the various social media available online.

Another milestone of note is that after 20 years in our old premises on Pattaya Second Road we moved to our very own brand new ultra-modern 5 story office building on Thepprasit Road in 2012.

I thank my closest confidantes, Dan Dorothy our Executive Editor, who not only looks after the paper but has also become a world renowned author having published a novel called Mango Rains. Martin Bilsborrow our untiring Assistant Editor in charge of sports, classifieds and entertainment, and Bob James our sub-editor.

Dr Iain Corness, who writes about anything and everything, not to mention two bestsellers on Expats in Thailand, claims he is not a cardiologist, but I believe that he knows more about matters of the heart than he lets us believe.

Peter Cummins, our evergreen yachting scribe, always has his nose to the grindstone and the perfect tack into the wind. PC is a gentleman and scholar extraordinaire. He is a person who has my highest respect and endearment.

Elfi Seitz is our charming Austrian executive editor of the Pattaya Blatt. My sister Sue, the sweet “girl” of PMTV, can “hard talk” the toughest interviewees into submission.

Nopniwat Krailerg, the chief of our editorial staff for all three newspapers, keeps a watchful eye over our reporters and their work.

Paul Strachan, our wee Scottish brother handled production of the PMTV for more than 10 years.

My heartfelt thanks also go to our contributors throughout the years, Mike Baird, Peter Marinacci, Graham Macdonald, Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood and Dr. Colin Kirkpatrick.

Shana Kongmun, the brave and tenacious Managing Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail refuses to give in to all odds.

Thanawat ‘King’ Suansuk and his extremely talented team of graphic designers who week after week create masterpieces in our newspapers and special publications.

Boonlue Chatree and his team of reporters, our delivery boys, our accounting department and all our staff past and present without whom we would not have achieved this milestone.

I thank my immediate family, my brothers Marlowe and Bill for initially trying to stop me, and when that failed, supported me throughout. I thank my sons Prince, Tony and Dave who inspired me to work hard and do everything in my power to give them a decent education. I thank God for blessing them and granting them the same passions for learning, teaching and giving as He did for their father.

I couldn’t have done it without all of you, our readers, our advertisers, our supporters, our critics and our friends. Thank you for giving all of us here at Pattaya Mail the opportunity to serve you.

As we venture into our 26th year, the commitment to excellence is even stronger than it ever was. While no-one is ever perfect, nor is any newspaper without its detractors, the Pattaya Mail Media Group, now from a secure base, reinforces our commitment to serve the Eastern Seaboard with truth, honour and integrity.

I bow in humble gratitude to all that is sacred for giving us the strength and courage to carry out our noble work thus far. We pray that we are granted even more strength in our resolve to continue to serve our community for as long as we possibly can.