Newspaper success on the other side of the world
The Guam Daily Post is growing on Guam
The Guam Daily Post is not only the most distant independent newspaper among SNPA members, it boasts circulation and digital gains that mainland peers would envy.
Mindy Aguon, CEO and editor-in-chief of the 17,000 circulation newspaper, calls its growth in the last two or three years "massive."
"In December 2016, The Guam Daily Post was available for purchase at 70 locations," she said. "As of July, the newspaper is now available at 260-plus locations around the island. We are adding more subscribers each week and many of the subscribers tell us they switched from our competitor because of our local news content."
"In July 2016, the Post website had 151,925 page views," Aguon added. "In June 2019, the Post website had over 1.4 million page views. Our Facebook followers have grown from 9,257 in 2016 to over 32,706. Staff has grown from 30 to 52."
All this is on an island about 7,800 miles, west, from SNPA's traditional headquarters in Atlanta. By comparison, it's about 4,407 miles from Atlanta to Hawaii.
Because of the considerable time difference, the interview with Aguon for this story was conducted via email. The Eastern Time Zone is about 14 hours behind island time.
"We joined SNPA as we were researching other newspaper organizations, to learn best practices and get ideas on how other newspapers are growing," Aguon said.
Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States, about 1,500 miles east of the Philippines. (Click here to view map.) Its population is about 165,000; Aguon said a third of the residents are children under the age of 14.
Guamanians are American citizens. The island is probably best known to mainland Americans for its military significance as home to the U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. A new Marine Corps base is being built in northern Guam and is expected to be open in 2023, Aguon said.
The Guam Daily Post, www.postguam.com, is relatively new. It was established in 2004 as the Marianas Variety-Guam Edition under a different owner. The for-profit Ho S. Eun Trust bought the paper in 2015. Guam is a two-newspaper island, with the competition being the Gannett-owned Pacific Daily News. Aguon said The Daily Post surpassed the Daily News' circulation in the latter part of 2017.
The Guam Daily Post publishes 364 days a year. The entire staff takes the Christmas holiday off and does not publish a paper on Dec. 26.
"We have a News King and a Color King press that are housed in a separate location than our operations," Aguon said.
"As high as 99 percent of our circulation is on Guam, but our digital readers span the globe. Our website averages 1.3 million page views a month, with more than 330,000 of those being unique page views. More than 70 percent of our digital readership is from Guam while the rest comes from the United States, Philippines, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and other places around the globe."
The formula for success encompasses the entire operation, from news coverage to advertising pricing to customer services.
"In the last two years, we have assembled a team of the island's most seasoned journalists and industry professionals who are committed to the success of the paper for the good of the community we serve. We offer more affordable pricing – whether for subscriptions, single-copy sales or advertising.
"The team has focused on providing an array of objective and accurate news, more than any other local media outlet. Hard-hitting journalism, thought-provoking editorials, heartwarming features, affordable advertising rates, great print and color quality, excellent customer service, and passion have been the keys to our success thus far.
"We are partnered with four radio stations on the island that provide our news for hourly news updates. We have expanded our digital presence with quality videography, bringing the sights and sounds of our stories to life for our social media channels."
For more information, reach Mindy Aguon at Mindy@postguam.com.
Jane Nicholes is a regular contributor to the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association's eBulletin and is a freelance writer and editor based in coastal Alabama. She is an award-winning veteran of more than 30 years in the newspaper business. Reach her at email@example.com.