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New blog hits media scene

The media scene in American Samoa just got a little bigger, with the launch of a new website called provides “news and views about American Samoa”, according to website owner Lewis Wolman. will contain original reporting as well as opinionated commentary on the local scene.

A daily feature, entitled “Take 2—Another Look at the News”, will be similar to the “Bits and Pieces” form of commentary that Samoa News readers may remember from the past, when Wolman served as Samoa News Editor (from 1985-2001). Wolman said he hopes the website will be updated with new material every day, or several times every day. He cautions that, “we are going to start out in a modest way, but hope to expand what we do in the months ahead.”

 Wolman said he hopes to take advantage of the Internet’s capabilities by including lots of photos as well as audio and video clips, but emphasized it will take time to develop the site to its full potential. Tiotala will also have an active presence in the social media sphere, including Facebook and Twitter.

“American Samoa is still several years behind the mainland in our use of the Internet and social media, but it is obvious that American Samoa is adopting the new forms of communication just like the rest of the world.

Blue Sky and ASTCA are providing top-notch infrastructure and it is only going to get better now that we have 4G wireless connectivity (Blue Sky) with Fiber-to-the-Home on the distant horizon from ASTCA’s BLAST project.”

As for what people can expect at Tiotala, Wolman said it is a work-in-progress and will establish its own identity and character over time.

“I originally got involved in journalism because I love the American Samoa community and how unique things are here. ” he said. “The website is primarily intended to provoke and deepen a lot of conversations about life on the rock, but we are not trying to establish ourselves as the main source of news on-island.

We are fortunate that Samoa News and KHJ and KVZK do such a good job of covering the news here — many cities and countries far bigger than American Samoa have far less news coverage than we do.

“ provides another perspective on things that interest me and fellow contributors. Hopefully, what we publish online will also interest a large audience of people who appreciate what is special about American Samoa: the good, the bad, the ugly, the serious, and the funny.”

While at Samoa News, Wolman pioneered use of polling during political campaigns and helped organize many candidate forums. “Hopefully, we can do that again this year,” he said, noting that he expects to contribute to the Samoa News occasionally and work with the newspaper on special projects.

Tiotala will be published primarily in English, but the Samoan language will be featured according to the talents of invited contributors, including Falaniko Vitolio and Tau “Tonkaman” Toluono.

Wolman said he chose the name “Tiotala” because he loves the bird he sees while driving back and forth to his home in Alega, and he loves the sound of the syllables. “We aren’t going to take ourselves too seriously at this website, and ‘Tiotala’ seemed to have just the right touch of local character and whimsy.”

To contact Wolman, call 633-4790 or email

Source: release