’36 has written some 20,000 stories for the Associated
Press. (courtesy AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Sixty-one years and counting
Carl Hartman ’36 still writes for the Associated Press
One day when Carl Hartman ’36 was sitting in a Princeton
English class, he and his fellow students were asked what they were
going to do after graduation. “I didn’t say anything,”
he recalled recently, “but a bright fellow said he was going
into journalism. It got a tremendous laugh.” Back then, journalism
was clearly considered a second-tier career.
But soon after graduation Hartman found himself entering the Fourth
Estate, and he’s never left. Today, at 88, he still files
an average of two stories a week for the Associated Press, his employer
since 1944. In fact, Hartman is the longest-tenured active reporter
at the venerable wire service — and he’s not yet ready
for retirement. “I’m able to tell people things about
their country and the globe that they didn’t know before,
and that may make them better ... at reaching the decisions, political
and otherwise, that make for a better world,” says Hartman.
Having the job, he adds, has helped him cope with the death in March
of his wife, Martha Hartman.
Hartman has been stationed in Washington, D.C., since 1978, and
for the last five years has covered the D.C. arts and culture scene
from a cluttered cubicle in the AP’s sprawling Washington
bureau. Over his years with AP, he has been posted in Madrid, Paris,
Budapest, Bonn, and Brussels, focusing mainly on political and economic
Though Hartman never worked in journalism on campus, he started
writing professionally at his first job, for a Broadway publicist.
He later entered journalism, working for the New York Daily
News, a small newspaper in Puerto Rico, and the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency before settling at the AP.
At a recent Princeton reunion, Hartman, who majored
in English, found only a few classmates who were still working.
“I could have retired at 65, but the idea of retiring at all
has always been something I dreaded,” he says. “It seems
to me, given the longevity of people these days, that to retire
at 65 is a dead-end deal.”
By Louis Jacobson ’92
Louis Jacobson ’92 is deputy editor of Roll Call
newspaper in Washington.