Newspapers cutting carriers

I don’t mean this to be “pick on newspapers” day, but an item today is too interesting to ignore.

As a long-time carrier for a local metropolitan newspaper (retiring after 10 years of early mornings a few years ago), I had a unique insight into the operations. You work 7 days a week, you get in around 2 a.m. (earlier on Sunday morning) and when you a customer would call to complain that you he had to actually stick a foot outside to pick up the paper, the carrier gets charged a $1 penalty ($3 on Sundays). For a successful delivery, the carrier gets about 8.5 cents. So one complaint, and the next 12 papers on a route are delivered at no profit for the carrier. And forget about being reimbursed for the gas.

It’s rough work. It’s rougher when the newspaper itself really doesn’t “get” how important the person who actually brings the paper is to the bottom line.

Take the Washington Times-Herald (Indiana), which let its readers know on Friday that the carriers are being eliminated in favor of the Postal Service.

Says the editor:


I want to emphasize that you will receive your newspaper the same day it is published. It is important for us to give the same great service that your carriers have provided these past several years.

The same day?