By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, August 12, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Jay Reiter]
HAMPTON -- Sitting at the bar in the Galley Hatch Restaurant drinking a cold beer, Jack Daly, editor and publisher of Seacoast Scene, is still doing his thing at the age of 75.
Daly says his publication, which is about where to go and what to do on the Seacoast, is celebrating its 30th anniversary today.
"One of the guys said to me the other day, how the hell did you make it 30 years," said Daly. "I told him I have no idea how I did it."
Daly worked as an industrial manager up until his 40s, an experience he referred to as miserable.
"I was doing a terrible job at work," said Daly. "I was doing a terrible job at being a father. So I left them both. I left the household and the company I was working for."
He packed his bags and moved to Hampton Beach, where he spent nine months trying to figure out what do with his life.
That is when fate stepped in.
"I got rescued by a Hampton Union journalist," said Daly. "She was a writer at the Hampton Union and said why don't I come work with her."
The two worked for the now defunct Beachcomber. He sold advertising while she wrote stories and took pictures.
"That's how I learned the newspaper business," said Daly. "I loved it. I love the pictures, the stories and the writing. It was in my blood."
From that experience, Daly decided to start his own publication.
A frequent visitor to bars, restaurants and clubs, Daly said he wanted to see a paper that showed the hot spots.
The paper, then called Seacoast After Dark, hit the streets on Aug. 12, 1975.
Because he was single, Daly thought others might be interested in the subject.
"I put a classified article in the paper asking if anyone was interested about coming to a meeting and talking about being single," he said.
Daly said 20 people showed up at their first meeting, and the next week there were 70.
That's when he decided to put together a singles seminars and dances.
Those dances were held at the Ashworth by the Sea on Sundays. He said roughly 500 to 600 people would attend.
"I did it for about 15 years," said Daly. "They had a good time. How I determined the success of a single party is that by 2 a.m., half the cars are still out in the parking lots."
He also wrote three books on the single experience.
The single dances and the books came to an end when he got married.
"I never did it again," said Daly. "I'm now divorced. But I don't think I could do it now"
Changing with the times
Much has changed over the last 30 years. The paper is now seasonal and what was originally a staff of 20 is now down to one.
"It's a one-man show," said Daly.
The office has moved from its original location downtown to the back room of Daly's home at the beach. He hires writers on a freelance basis.
One thing that hasn't changed is that Daly is still going out and having a good time.
"I go out about eight times a week," said Daly.
Although most people his age are retired, Daly said it's not for him.
"I plan on doing this as long as I live. There are few journalists in the business in it for the money, they're in it because they love it. I love it and I still find each and every day exciting."
He says his life is like the character in the John Grisham novel "The Last Juror."
"The book was about a reporter who owned his own newspaper," said Daly. "He was a single guy that raised some hell. Just like me."