Paul Finch, who directed coverage of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the Tlatelolco massacre for The Associated Press, has died in Reno, where he started his career more than 50 years ago. He was 75.
Finch had a stroke two weeks ago and died Tuesday at Renown Regional Medical Center, his wife, Joyce, said Wednesday.
Finch joined the AP in 1956 as a reporter in Reno after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno.
“In 1956, Reno was a hell of a dateline,” Finch recalled years later in an interview published in the campus newspaper, Sagebrush. “In those days there was no Las Vegas. You know, back then Reno was ‘Sin City,’ where all the Hollywood stars would get divorced.”
His career took off after he earned accolades for his reporting on a deadly gas explosion. He worked in the San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., bureaus before returning to Reno for a year.
In 1961, he went to New York, where he worked on the AP’s international desk. He took his first foreign assignment in Caracas, Venezuela, where he later became bureau chief.
He moved on to become bureau chief in Mexico City and oversaw coverage of the 1968 Olympics and the Tlatelolco Massacre, in which thousands of student protesters were fired on by police and the military.
Finch called coverage of the massacre, in which hundreds were killed, the crowning achievement of his career.
Finch returned to the United States and was AP bureau chief in San Francisco and Los Angeles before being named general executive for the Midwest, overseeing 16 bureaus.
He left the AP in 1978 and briefly worked as editor for the San Bernardino Sun in California. The last 20 years of his career were spent as vice president of sales for the New York Times news service.
He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a grandson.