Rome

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

When I was a kid, running away to join the circus was my dream of choice. The very idea of the smell of the sawdust and the animals, the vagabond life of death-defying trapeze artists and high-wire walkers and the popcorn and cotton candy conjured up a paradise almost too good to be true. When the circus came to town, it was the treat of the year.

Cathedral Corporation, a national provider of transactional documents, customer care communications, personalized direct mail and e-marketing programs, has named Kimberley J. Waltz, a nationally recognized industry leader in the postal service, as its Vice President for Postal Affairs and Business Development. "Kim's extensive knowledge of the postal industry and its communications network, including her ability to analyze postal issues, offers a tremendous resource for Cathedral customers," said Marianne W. Gaige, President and CEO of Cathedral Corporation. "Her standing within the postal service and insight into future strategy will help our customers gain a

Every month for the past 11 years, it's been part of my job as Who's Mailing What! Archivist to analyze pretty much every piece of mail that lands on my desk. More than anything else, I am always on the lookout for long-term controls — those mailings that keep reappearing because they haven't been beaten yet.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles is broke, and a lot of folks are in high dudgeon.

 

Its profligate and irresponsible director, Jeremy Strick, classically trained and hired in 1999 out of the Art Institute of Chicago, has burned through $44 million of the museum’s endowment, leaving it with a paltry $6 million.

 

This is a major scandal.

 

Museum management is dithering over how to quickly raise the $25 million needed to keep the doors open and some of its programs going. Do they merge with another museum? Do they hit up some big donors? Do they hire Carl Bloom Associates to launch a direct mail campaign?

 

Uh-uh. No time.

 

The sentence that follows this one will be the most blasphemous concept that could ever be promulgated in the eyes of the ego-driven elitists who run art museums.

 

To get on its feet, MOCA needs only to sell two paintings from its permanent collection; fire the director; put some responsible, competent people on its board; suck it up and start over.

 

Sell two paintings out of its permanent collection?

 

AAAAaaaaaahhhhhhheeeeeeee!!!!

For some time, I've followed the spate of newspapers planning to fire the Associated Press and getting their news elsewhere, thank you very much. Papers planning to opt out:

Aug. 20, 2008: The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, the Yakima Herald-Republic and The Wenatchee World—all in Washington state—and The Bakersfield Californian.

Aug. 28, 2008: Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Oct. 16, 2008: The Tribune Co. (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel, the Orlando Sentinel, Red Eye of Chicago, Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa. and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.).

Yes, newspapers are taking a beating as a result of the lousy economy and, more importantly, advertisers migrating from print to digital. "The decline in [the top 25] newspapers' paid circulation is accelerating, according to new statistics today from the Audit Bureau of Circulations" wrote Nat Ives in AdAge.com this morning. "Papers' average weekday paid circulation fell to 38.2 million copies across the six months ending Sept. 30, down 4.64% from the equivalent period a year earlier. That's a faster fall than was seen this time last year, when the audit bureau reported just a 2.6% decline."

But is it smart for a newspaper (or any business for that matter) to commit hara-kiri—disemboweling itself in the scramble for savings?

In the autumn of 1954, my father went to Rome to research a biography of Clare Boothe Luce, playwright, wit, former congresswoman, and President Eisenhower’s Ambassador to Italy. That was the year her husband—Henry R. Luce, founder of Time, LIFE and Fortune—launched Sports Illustrated to the astonishment of everyone who knew him, because Luce was emphatically not a sports fan. The story running around Rome and New York was that someone inveigled Luce to go to a ball game at Yankee Stadium and he was stunned to see 50,000 screaming fans. “How long has this been going on?” Luce reportedly asked his companion. “A

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