What happened to the newspaper carrier?
Published 11:17 am Friday, September 29, 2023
Every morning my neighbor first thing after she got up fixed herself a cup of coffee, and then went to the front porch to get the newspaper dropped off by the carrier, usually in the wee hours of the day. It was a ritual with not only her, but many Americans, who turn to their newspapers for the latest obituaries, the weather report, the news beat, ball scores and other news that occurred overnight or since the last print date.
The decline of local news, and of the daily newspaper, is a subject that has rightly inspired a lot of hand-wringing in recent years. The mail carrier in most areas now delivers the paper to your mailbox. Sometimes, it’s mid-afternoon or early evening before you get your paper.
No more coffee and paper in the early morning. So, what happened to the newspaper boy?
It is due partly to the disappearance of afternoon newspapers, whose delivery times worked better for school-aged children than did those of morning papers, which were typically delivered before 6 a.m. By the mid 1990s, “paperboys” and “papergirls” were replaced by adult men and women.
The shift in carriers’ ages was due not only partly to the disappearance of evening newspapers, but the many different ways people now get their news – the accessibility of internet news and television. The turn of the millennium saw major changes to the newspaper industry as internet advertising reduced revenue and subscriptions declined. Then, it became harder and harder to get carriers. Like most businesses, it’s hard to find people to work, thus the change to mail.
From paperboys and girls to U.S. Mail carriers, newspaper delivery has been through major changes in the last few decades as publications search for reliable ways to deliver news to readers.
This being National Newspaper Week, we recall some of those long-time STAR carriers, who were faithful to their task. Among them were C.Y. (also circulation manager at one time) and his wife, Linda Faye Peters, Etta Carden, Phyllis and Harold Bowers, Jennifer Hilton, Granny Hodge and her son, Ronnie, Rick and Nancy Tolley, and Marty Proffitt, to name a few. They were faithful to the task, and on winter days, it would be after dark usually when they finished their route.
Gone are the days when carriers came to the front door to collect payment each week – and sometimes a cookie or two. Today, when your paper doesn’t get delivered, you pick up the phone and call the newspaper office, and Kathy, our receptionist and do-all, listens to each and every call about delivery.
Yes, newspaper readers like my neighbor loved their papers. Sometimes, even we on staff, feel a little disgusted with our paper, complaining that it doesn’t have much in it, but for the most part, all of us must have our daily newspaper, just as if it were our daily bread, as Will Rogers once said. Things change, our staff has grown smaller and our jobs are more difficult. Sometimes, we feel like we are fighting a losing battle. But, we keep pressing forward. I wouldn’t want any other job.
Despite times being hard for the newspaper industry, we’re trying our best to make your hometown paper a vital part of this community. We need your help by sharing your news with us – church news, school news, community news, etc.
In the meantime, look for the mailman on Wednesdays and Saturdays….he has your paper and either he or she will deliver it to your door or your mailbox.
Thank you for your patronage.