A salute to carriers

MITCHELL'S MUSINGS: 30-some-odd years after delivering his first paper, newspaper editor tries his hand at delivering again

If you got your paper today, and if you didn’t then I’m kind of talking in the wind here (and that’s the point), you should thank your paperboy or girl as it’s international carrier week.

I know the Internet is likely this millennium’s greatest invention (although it’s early still) and it’s put some direct pressure on the last millennium’s greatest invention, the printing press, i.e. in my book that’s newspapers but I may be a little biased, ahem.

But, really, I still believe getting a community newspaper, chock full of pictures and news stories, not to mention sports, lifestyles, entertainment, crosswords, horoscopes and more, delivered to your door, complete with flyers so you know what’s on sale, for FREE, is one of the great bargains of this or any other century.

What comes to your door these days? Not doctors, not milkmen, not even for many of us the mailman, and if you happen to be one of our readers who has to travel to a blue box to get your paper, hey, it’s still close to home and a pretty good deal.

And of course we are able to do this thanks to amazing advertisers and dedicated readers that support us year after year so we can help keep the community informed and, yes, provide a service that not only records history on the run but also hopefully helps the North Okanagan march boldly into the future.

Internally it takes a professional and dedicated team of journalists, production specialists, advertising consultants, classified experts, managers, drivers, press plant personnel and more to put out a paper three times a week (not to mention the Internet which requires constant feeding), but it’s all for naught if the carrier doesn’t come through in the end every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

So we salute you all. The boys, girls, parents, seniors, adult carriers who take on numerous routes, everyone who takes on the challenge of delivering The Morning Star, we honour you this week and every week. Now that’s easy to say, even though I mean it sincerely, but this year some of us management types, and others, put our words into action and took on a route Wednesday.

For me it was a trip down memory lane.

I delivered The Vancouver Sun for several years in my youth. And that’s when it was an afternoon paper at the Coast but delivered the next morning here in the Interior (boy does that sound ancient). So I dutifully got up, grabbed a quick bowl of cereal and headed out six days a week. I rode my bike from the East Hill to the paper shack, near Civic Arena most of the time, and set out for the Harwood area, and past Butcher Boys on both Silver Star Road and Pleasant Valley Road, and then back to East Hill and home and another bowl of cereal (which I think was me rewarding myself each a.m.). And I only had, like, 30 papers or so. Yes, it was pretty spread out.

So I always had to ride my bike, no matter the weather, and did I mention it was delivered the day after publication day, so that included Christmas and New Year’s and every Sunday? Monday was my sleeping-in day. And then there was collecting and all of its challenges…….I better quit before I end up talking about riding uphill both ways and…

Anyway Wednesday’s route was a mere 40 papers in a mobile home park in the Landing. So they were close together, no dogs at all, and after dutifully following the list of stops from the circulation manager I was done in no time. Well it probably took 40 minutes or so, and that includes driving to the park when I should have rode my bike, and it was one day I had to get up in the dark, big deal. No hero badges are necessary.

However, it did help get me in touch with the carrier’s responsibilities and duties and it felt good to be in on the final and so vitally important job in the newspaper business. So thanks again everyone in the circulation department. And although I never see my own carrier, do know that I’m grateful every time I open my door Wednesday, Friday and Sunday morning.