Stan Swinton

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.

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?

Exactly nine blocks from my house in Center City Philadelphia, the following exchange took place on ABC-TV the evening of April 16 at the National Constitution Center: MR. GIBSON: And Senator Obama, I want to do one more question, which goes to the basic issue of electability. And it is a question raised by a voter in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. A woman by the name of Nash McCabe. Take a look. NASH MCCABE (Latrobe, Pa.): (From videotape.) Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen,

A great family friend was Stan Swinton, World Service vice president of the Associated Press—a brilliant, hard-driving, hard-living charmer, who spent much of his life on jet planes and knew just about everyone worth knowing in 104 countries. At some point during the Vietnam War on a pub-crawl with Stan, I asked why reporters covering the White House frequently lobbed softball questions at the president. “Access,” he replied. “The government has the power to deny access. If you don’t have access, you do get news.” I thought about it and realized that no access means no presidential press conferences, no trips on Air Force 1, no battlefield

More Blogs