A Slice of Pattaya History

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Peter shows a photo of the first page of the first issue of the Pattaya Mail coming off the printing presses in July1993.
Peter shows a photo of the first page of the first issue of the Pattaya Mail coming off the printing presses in July1993.

The beginnings of Pattaya Mail becoming your preferred partner in business

To mark the 26th anniversary of Pattaya Mail, founder and MD Pratheep S. Malhotra, better known as Peter, was invited to speak at the Eastern Seaboard Business Dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Pattaya. The following is his presentation:

I was born in Phitsanulok, lived in Bangkok until my family moved to Pattaya in 1975 where we set up shop in South Pattaya, now known as Walking Street. During the first two decades in Pattaya I saw the community of Thais and expats grow at a rapid pace.

In the early days, Pattaya was getting an increasingly bad rap in the international press and soon Pattaya became known as the world’s favorite “bad” holiday resort.

In 1991, I realized that Pattaya needed a ‘voice’ to protect ourselves from the negative publicity. We needed a ‘proper English language newspaper to tell our side of the story.

It took 2 years for the application to go through and in 1993 we received our official license to publish the first English language newspaper on the Eastern Seaboard.

Initially Chuck Pringle filled the gap as editor and a young American, Dan Dorothy, stepped in to cover the sports and feature writer’s position. An even younger Austrian, Andy Gombaez, who was on his way to Hollywood to be a cartoonist, stumbled into the artist’s job after talking to the embryonic Pattaya Mail’s driver! That the first issue, dated 23rd July 1993, ever made the streets is a miracle in itself.

Three weeks later, the second issue came out, and then weekly thereafter. Those first few months were anything but successful, and if it weren’t for the determination and downright stubbornness of the small but resourceful team, Pattaya Mail would not have made it to Christmas. The most often question asked during the first couple of months was, “Will there be an issue next week?”

Frank Holzer, GM of ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions (Thailand) (centre right) introduces Peter Malhotra (centre left) MD of Pattaya Mail guest speaker at the Eastern Seaboard Business Dinner.
Frank Holzer, GM of ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions (Thailand) (centre right) introduces Peter Malhotra (centre left) MD of Pattaya Mail guest speaker at the Eastern Seaboard Business Dinner.

There were many who, when they saw the first issue of the Mail said, ‘They won’t last the year out.’ Perhaps, not surprisingly, there were some who still said something similar on our first anniversary – and even, but with less confidence, on our second – but by the third, the doubters were drowning in our torrent of information.

With the introduction of our home page to the Internet in 1996, Pattaya Mail took your voice to the world.

We can also be proud that our aims were achieved. Campaigns initiated and/or supported by us bore fruit and gradually Pattaya changed and the perception of Pattaya, in the eyes of the world, also changed. But the rapid change brought its own price and, eventually the weekly workload became too much for Chuck.

Peter points to the picture of the very first issue of the Pattaya Mail published on 23 July 1993.
Peter points to the picture of the very first issue of the Pattaya Mail published on 23 July 1993.

Under Dan Dorothy’s most able stewardship, the Pattaya Mail grew and gained a large following and readership along the Eastern Seaboard. Dan feels that the paper has the potential to expand beyond our borders, by attracting good writers admitting, however, that some of the old ‘ad hoc’ methods are still with the paper. “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.”

As Dan says it “the opportunity the staff have been given here is such that it breeds loyalty,” adding with his infectious grin: “After all, I’m a lobster fisherman from Harpswell, Maine – where else could I be an Editor?” Where else indeed? Perhaps one could add to this, certainly in Dan’s case: Talent Will Triumph!

Now twenty six years later, Executive Editor Dan Dorothy keeps an almost-avuncular eye over the entire paper every week, while trying to keep the sometimes unruly band of writers, both local and expats under linguistic control. Faces change, but the concepts and the principles remain the same.

The media business has also taught me to persevere and keep trying, again and again. The Pattaya Mail has given me the greatest opportunity to meet people, and I don’t mean people only in high society. My job has taken me to many places where I experienced the pain of people suffering, anything from hunger to sickness to injustices caused by other human beings. Pattaya Mail has been my vehicle to reach out and give any assistance that we possibly could give.

To continue to show its position as not only the ‘Best in the East’, acknowledged by the media association for 18 consecutive years, the lengthy publishing history of the Pattaya Mail shows that it is also the longest running newspaper covering this region.

There are many facets to life in Pattaya, and the Pattaya Mail touches on them all. The news sections inform the readership just what is going on, both from the municipal point of view, with our editors being invited for information sharing sessions with City Hall, plus the police news reports on some of the more nefarious members of the community; the sporting section covers the local sports; the Mail Market with items for sale, jobs, business opportunities, real estate and more. Automobiles, films, TV and book reviews are there too, with reports of what is happening right here in Pattaya.

With an English language newspaper, there are also international reports covering the English-speaking world from films, entertainment and sports. International news is directed straight to the editorial news desk from the prestigious Associated Press, with the Pattaya Mail being an associate of the international news organization.

On Friday, November 23, 2001, Denis D. Gray, Chief of Bureau, Associated Press, Bangkok, and Pattaya Mail Managing Director Peter Malhotra signed an agreement making Pattaya Mail the first newspaper in Thailand outside of Bangkok to join the AP family.

Thus began yet another new chapter in Pattaya Mail history. From then on, every week in print and every day on our website, we brought the best, most interesting news, features, science, entertainment and sports the world has to offer, which only the Associated Press can deliver.

With many service clubs and charities in Pattaya, the Pattaya Mail covers them all, not just with a photo of an event, but with real positive assistance and promotion where needed. The charities know that even after 26 years they still have a true friend and ally in the Pattaya Mail.

After 26 years of publishing, the Pattaya Mail is still a very popular read in the Pattaya and eastern seaboard community. Residents and visitors look forward to getting a copy of the Pattaya Mail every alternate Friday. We distribute thousands of copies to the expat and local communities through various channels ‘free of charge’.

Peter tells the story of 26 exciting years of Pattaya Mail to guests at the Eastern Seaboard Business Dinner.
Peter tells the story of 26 exciting years of Pattaya Mail to guests at the Eastern Seaboard Business Dinner.

Our thinking is, we prefer to see the paper distributed and read widely rather than sitting on the shelves of supermarkets waiting to be bought. The more people read the paper, the more exposure our advertisers get.

Hence we still get hundreds of requests to not only promote but to also cover and publish community and commercial events in our newspaper because the Pattaya Mail is the most effective media to get the word out to the world at large.

We are very much 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.

The Pattaya Mail has and will continue to take a leadership stance in this town by informing the business community of the benefits of mainstream newspaper advertising and how to increase traffic and maximize returns.

In a business sense, Pattaya Mail is not just selling advertising space, but we are selling solutions to increased traffic and revenue streams in all forms of media. After all we are your preferred partner in business.