Celebrating the Paper Boy and By Extension - The Local Paper

Tomorrow is officially Newspaper Carrier Day, according to the Newspaper Association Managers, and the Suburban Newspaper Association is offering a downloadable ad thanking newspaper carriers for carrying the banner (pdf). But the ad, touting a decidedly old school news delivery method, is also a defense for the daily newspaper in the digital age. It reads:

Today, it’s easier than ever to find information - national news casts, blogs and social networking sites - we know that you have a number of options when receiving information.

But what newspapers deliver is something more than a snippet, an opinion or a sound-byte. Your newspaper is a reflection of the community it serves.

And it takes a dedicated carrier force to deliver your community’s news to your home daily, weekly and throughout the year. Take a moment and thank your carrier for their dedication and service.

A tip of the newsboy cap to to all the paper carriers who brave foul weather, guard dogs, potholes, and a host of other obstacles (In the old school Paper Boy video game for Atari, carriers dodged break dancers, tornados and the Grim Reaper, himself). And a tip of the cap to the dwindling number of daily newspaper subscribers who still subscribe to their local paper, despite the fact that they can probably get it online for free, which is especially tempting when the paper boy misses the front porch entirely five days in a row.

If you don’t already subscribe to your hometown paper, follow the advice of Pulitzer Prize-winning director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Alex Jones, below:

“Buy a subscription to a newspaper. And then write a letter to the editor and say to the editor, ‘Look, I’m one of your customers. I’m willing to support you. I’m willing to giving you a shot at proving to me that it’s worth it to be your supporter and demonstrate that support by buying this subscription. But your part of this deal is you give me news. I. Want. News. I don’t want T-ball coverage, I want news. I don’t want Britney Spears, I want news. I don’t want just wire copy, I want news. I want you tell me what’s going on in my town, what’s really happening. That’s my deal with you. I’ll support you, that’s your part of the bargain.”

Were you a newspaper carrier when you were a kid? Tell us what paper you delivered and share your best and worst memories of the job in the comments section below.

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Alexandra Fenwick is an assistant editor at CJR.