Stars & Stripes one of the most widely distributed newspapers in the world wants to be where the military action is and has set its sights on Guam. The military’s newspaper has asked for proposals from Guam companies to print and distribute the newspaper and to sell ads and subscriptions.

“There is the strong possibility that the footprint of the military in the Pacific is going to change and we want to be in a better position to service this market ” said Darian L. Wilson director of marketing in the Pacific region for Stars and Stripes. He said Stars and Stripes for more than 50 years has been flying copies to Guam from Tokyo for single-copy sales and home deliveries. With a printer on Guam Wilson said readers will receive their papers as much as a day earlier.

Wilson was among a group of four newspaper and contracting officials who held a pre-proposal conference on July 1 on Andersen Air Force Base. Leading the conference was Linda M. Baier a contracting officer for the U.S. Army who flew in from Alexandria Va. Others were Lt. Col. Dan Todd commander Pacific for Stars and Stripes and John D. Panasiewicz circulation director for the newspaper in the Pacific region.

They said the primary purposes of hiring a contractor on Guam for the newspaper were to improve delivery times cut air-freight costs and increase readership.

Among those attending the conference were Stephen Ruder president of Glimpses Advertising; Lee P. Webber president and publisher for Guam Publications and Pacific Daily News; and Amier C. Younis operations manager for Marianas Variety.

Bids are due by July 16 and a five-year contract will be awarded by Aug. 1.

Wilson said Stars and Stripes in the ‘90s had built its circulation with a staff of 10 on Guam to about 1 000 copies daily but downsized the operation here in 1999 because “It was uneconomical to service this market at the time.” Today circulation has dropped to about 350 copies a day. Stars and Stripes has a full-time circulation manager on Guam who manages three circulation contractors. Stars and Stripes had a Guam reporter on staff until November 2001 but has not had one since.

Wilson said Department of Defense I.D. cardholders are eligible for home delivery. He said there are thousands of retirees on Guam who would qualify for delivery. He said
Stars and Stripes launched its electronic edition on May 1 making the paper available for the first time in the U.S. mainland.

Stars and Stripes got its start in 1918. After World War I ended it ceased publication until April 1942. When World War II ended the paper was mandated to continue to publish as long as U.S. troops remained abroad. Today Stars and Stripes’ European and Pacific daily editions are produced in Washington D.C. The paper’s contents will arrive electronically at the contractor on Guam for printing. The request for proposals explains “As the military worldwide transforms itself the transformation in the Pacific is likely to focus heavily on Guam. Pacific Stars and Stripes has an immediate need to find an appropriate business partner in Guam in order to assist us with our operation.”

The paper which takes no editorial position of its own on issues but has a healthy letters to the editor page publishes approximately 80 000 copies 363 days a year. The RFP says the Guam print run will be a minimum of 300 copies up to 6 000 or more a day.

Daily home delivery of Stars and Stripes which is an evening paper is $16.25 per month in other locations. The single copy price is 50¢ and 75¢ on Sundays. The Sunday rate however increased to $1 on July 4.

Guam advertisers in Stars and Stripes will have distribution in the Japan/Guam edition. Stars and Stripes has worldwide rates and zoned ad rates.

Stars and Stripes operates with a combination of both non-appropriated funds and with funds appropriated by Congress. It has been accepting advertising for the past 18 years though ads are sold based on acceptance by a screening process in Washington D.C. While known for its consistent excellence and great sports pages editorially the newspaper is guided by the need to support the morale of the troops. MBJ