Updated: Oct 7
The late Abed Younis, my former boss and founder of Marianas Variety, never caved in to intimidation. In his typically deadpan tone, Mr. Younis would tell his harasser, “Take me to court.”
In 2003, Marianas Variety prevailed over the defamation suit filed in the CNMI court by then House Speaker Ben Fitial over a bribery story published in the paper.
In every small community, truth-telling is not an easy job, especially if the truth gives discomfort to some. And sometimes, it entails consequences.
Mr. Younis never succumbed to pressure, even if such purported intransigence meant losing advertising dollars. For almost half a century, Marianas Variety has withstood many storms, literally and figuratively. It has snagged awards and kept its independence.
Mr. Younis earned a good number of supporters and detractors, but he was quite nonchalant to accolades and criticisms. He didn’t strive for popularity. He only cared to earn the trust of the reading public. He wanted his paper to be, above all, fair and factual.
A self-taught journalist, Mr. Younis had a natural nose for news. His social meetings with his associates always turned into a news-gathering affair. I remember those days when he would come into the newsroom to share his pencil-scribbled notes with the editorial staff. His stern presence kept the reporters attentive. Get both sides of the story, he always reminded us.