There’s a New Publisher in Town
Inviting the Voice Community to Join in Writing Its Next Chapter

April 27th, 2012
by Robert Armstrong

[private] As those who read the Voice regularly, visit its website or follow us on Facebook already know, Thomas Tomczyk, who founded this publication nine years ago, has sold the business to me and is moving on.

I’ve heard a lot about Thomas, and about the Voice, since I first started looking into buying the magazine from him while stuck on a U.S. Navy ship in the Pacific several months ago, with only a slow and unreliable internet connection to keep me sane. Some had good things to say, others not so good, but everyone seemed to have an opinion. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it’s better to be talked about than not to be talked about, and it was clear to me that the Voice was talked about. That’s why I bought it.

What attracted me about the Voice wasn’t just the opportunity to live on Roatan, which I visited frequently when I worked at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa 2007-2009, but that Thomas had created something special here, and perhaps unique in Honduras – a true community publication. That’s something I very much want to retain. But I’m obviously going to do it in my own Voice.

Many of you probably can’t imagine the Voice without Thomas, and frankly, neither can I. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with the publication. I have lots of ideas, but I’m going to try them one by one, relying on you, the readers, to tell me what’s working and what’s not. From what I’ve gathered, you won’t be shy about that.

I know I’ll make mistakes, and I’m sure you’ll point them out to me. But I commit to be as factually accurate as I humanly can, to adhere to high professional standards, to give fair treatment to opposing views, and, most importantly, to listen and respond to your concerns.

One thing that worried me coming down here was how I would come up with good story ideas every month. Fortunately, this month’s cover story was a no-brainer (something at which I excel), since it was Semana Santa, the biggest week of the year for Bay Islands tourism. This month’s photo story literally dropped into my lap on my flight in from San Pedro Sula to close the purchase. I shared a small plane with a group of medical volunteers from Kentucky coming to do a free clinic, thus the title: “Doing Good ‘on the Fly.’”

It reminded me that during my earlier stint in Honduras I often tired of hearing certain people whose thinking was stuck in the ’80s attribute all the country’s ills to exploitation by multinationals. I used to reply that on my many flights to Honduras, I had never once sat next to a multinational executive, but there was always at least one group on the flight going down on a charity mission, motivated only by goodwill, and perhaps by a sense of adventure or a desire to squeeze in a trip to the beach. Not to over-simplify things or disregard the legacy of the banana companies, but I really didn’t see that Honduras was suffering in this century from too much foreign presence. But it’s up to we foreign guests to show that.

That it was just before Holy Week, when Christians aspire to follow Christ’s example, made the story all the more timely. The face of this month’s cover girl, waiting in line at the free clinic, said it all. We should focus on what unites rather than divides us, and how we can make the Bay Islands a better place to live, both for those who were born here and for those of us who have chosen to make it our home away from home. For my part, I’ll aspire to run the Voice with the same pure intentions that motivated those Kentucky volunteers.

Unas Palabras a la Clientela de Habla Hispana

Me honra y agrada mucho tener la oportunidad de recibir el Bay Islands Voice – la Voz de las Islas de la Bahia – del Señor Thomas Tomczyk, quien fundó y dirigió la publicación durante los últimos nueve años. Thomas me la vendió en el mes de marzo, y esta es mi primera edición.

Esta no es la primera vez que vengo a las Islas de la Bahia, pues frecuentamente visitaba Roatan y Utila para bucear y descansar durante los dos años que viví en Tegucigalpa trabajando como Consejero Económico en la Embajada Estadounidense. Pero en las cuatro semanas que llevo aquí desde comprar la Voz, me ha impresionado la diversidad de las comunidades que existen en las islas. Roatan no es solo West Bay y West End, como lo conocí de turista. Eso es algo que el mundo necesita saber.

Thomas trabajó fuerte para establecer esta revista como una verdadera publicación comunitaria, dirigida a los intereses y los gustos de la gente de las islas. Me gustaría mantener y fortalecer esa tradición. Tal cual me interesa publicar más información en español, para la gente de origien hispana, los que tengo entenido han llegado a formar la mayoría de los habitantes de las islas.

Mucho agradecería que ustedes los lectores me comentaran de cuales temas y materias les interesarían ver tratados en español, tanto en la revista como en el sitio de web.

Muchísimas gracias por su apoyo y su preferencia. [/private]

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