Utila Sails with own Publication
Two young entrepreneurs launch a monthly community newspaper

June 1st, 2005
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] v3-6-Utila-East Wind PublicationAfter several years having no written news source, Utila has a monthly news-magazine once again. On May 5, two dive mistresses turn publishers launched “Utila East Wind,” a 16 page, free newspaper filled with community news, marine environmental features, guides and advertising.

Luise Powell, 23, of Norwich, England and Tara Noble-Singh, 27, of London, are following in the footsteps of “Utila Times,” and “Island Gazette.” The last two Utila newspapers were published in 1990’s by Anne Taylor, an Australian photojournalist, with the help of Susan Jensen, a Roatan entrepreneur.

“We wanted to look like a newspaper and feel like a newspaper,” said Noble-Singh. Slim, bright-eyed and energetic, the two Englishwomen often ride around Utila town on BMX bikes. In a way, it’s yet another Utila story of eccentric characters and transformation. Noble-Singh has a B.S. degree in Psychology and Mathematics. Powell has a high school degree and several years experience teaching English abroad. The two met on Utila while working as dive masters at Alton’s dive shop. They talked about the idea of starting a newspaper in March, but didn’t commit to the project until April.

The last days before launching the newspaper were especially busy. In a three-day work marathon, working on one laptop, the two took shifts in finalizing the layout and design of their first issue. While one slept, the other worked. On May 5, “Utila East Wind” was born.

Before the launching, many Utilans were skeptical about a newspaper. “Now everything changed. We get invited everywhere and people want to talk to us,’ said Powell. Just a couple of days after launching the magazine the Utilans overcame their bashfulness about giving opinions. “It’s good that the “East Wind” is blowing. We are finally a bit in competition with Roatan,” said Shelby McNab, president of Utila’s BICA.

The newspaper led its maiden issue with a story about public discontent with Utila Power Company price hikes. “Some people thought we were a little too balanced,” said Powell.

The newspaper is currently in the process of getting an office and adjusting ad rates. “The idea is to eventually hand it [newspaper] over to the locals,” said Powell. The second, partially full-color edition, printed at La Prensa, is expected to hit Utila in the first days of June. [/private]

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