AT RANDOM: Carrying on a tradition

Newspaper carriers are celebrated for their role in providing community information

Three days a week you count on them. Whether they throw your issue of The Morning Star right next to the sprinkler, or toss it into the neighbour’s bushes, they are your friendly newspaper carriers.

And in case you forgot, Newspaper Carrier Day was Tuesday.

No, this isn’t some bogus holiday.

Established by the Newspaper Association of America, it is a day to recognize all those who bravely deliver the news.

Yes, there are some carriers with bad aim out there. But those are just the few we often hear about. For the most part, they are exceptional delivery-people, faithfully putting the news into the hands of North Okanagan readers.

Without carriers, the dedicated news staff, advertising salespeople, creative consultants, classified department and printing press’ work would never see the light of day.

If we didn’t have newspaper carriers, we might as well just click into the internet era and put a bunch of breaking news, features and photos online.

Oh, wait…we already do that (www.vernonmorningstar.com).

Despite the fact that many people are turning to their computers for their news, there are still many who prefer to flip through the pages of a freshly printed newspaper, scan the flyers, cut out a photo of a friend/family member and use the remnants to, well, the options are limitless and include serving fish and chips.

Some people say newspapers are dying.

But consider all those readers who call into The Morning Star when their paper isn’t delivered on time, or at all – they obviously still read the print version, or they wouldn’t care if it was delivered at all.

So newspapers aren’t dying, in fact, they are growing.

Instead of just supplying a printed copy of the news, complete with flyers, community ads and events, papers are also going online to deliver breaking news, features and photos. Many, including The Morning Star, have even advanced to shoot video footage and display slideshows of stunning photos.

The web is also a useful tool to get news out in a more timely fashion.

The fact is news will never die, the world still needs/wants to know what’s going on nationally, provincially and, most important, locally. Newspapers have been around for centuries – longer than any other news source.

They have stood the test of time, and will continue to do so. They are both historic and futuristic.

Just like the printed copies they so faithfully deliver, newspaper carriers are also an important part of our history, and are integral to the future of news.

Which is why Newspaper Carrier Day was initiated.

This special day honours the first paperboy, Barney Flaherty, hired in 1833 by the New York Sun. Benjamin Day, publisher of the Sun, hired 10-year-old Flaherty to sell papers for his penny press.

The only job requirement, apparently, was that he had to show that he could throw a newspaper into the bushes.

The tradition of newspapers hiring kids to deliver the news into the hands of millions of readers has since continued.

Kids learned the value of a penny, by diligently delivering papers in all kinds of weather, being chased down by dogs and dodging sprinklers.

They were the delivery system of the news, and can truly be called some of the pioneers of news.

Thomas Edison was a newsboy. He sold papers on the train as a youth. Other prominent figures/former carriers include: John Wayne, Warren Buffet and Martin Luther King.

So if you forgot to celebrate Carrier Day Tuesday, there is another opportunity later this year – International Newspaper Carrier Day is Oct. 20.

Unfortunately that falls on a Saturday, and since The Morning Star doesn’t deliver a paper that day, the North Okanagan can celebrate their carriers the Friday prior or Sunday after.