Carriers are the backbone of newspapers

Power outages and press malfunctions are among a newspaper circulation manager’s worst nightmare.

Even an hour delay in “getting the newspaper out” wreaks havoc with the process of hooking up subscribers with the latest news that was available at deadline time.

When subscribers’ newspapers arrive late, many of those people already have inundated circulation department telephone lines with concerned — and sometimes angry — inquiries.

For many people, not having their newspaper available at their breakfast table is as troubling as having run out of coffee or orange juice the day before and having forgotten to buy some more for today’s breakfast.

Some subscribers use the word “traumatic” rather than “troubling” to put the late-newspaper situation in the perspective with which they can most agree. They are entitled to such an opinion.

But today, rather than focus on some of the myriad glitches that can wreak havoc with newspaper production schedules, it is a good time to reflect on the last pair of hands to touch your paper before it reaches you.

Those last pair of hands, if you are a home delivery subscriber, belong to your carrier, who is part of the worldwide cadre of individuals, young and old, who are committed to getting the latest news to you as quickly as possible, regardless of weather conditions or other challenging factors.

What formerly was a great job for young Johnny has evolved into a necessary second-job opportunity for many adults.

That is why today — International Newspaper Carrier Day — newspapers across this country and around the world are saluting the many carriers who successfully complete the daily production cycle by hand-carrying the day’s edition to subscribers’ doorsteps or to some other pre-designated locations.

And, in the case of many of those young Johnnys, their first job — being employed as a newspaper carrier and properly exercising the responsibilities of that position — laid the groundwork for maturity, responsibility and commitment necessary for the greatness they eventually achieved in life.

Here are some names of people who used being a newspaper carrier as an admirable steppingstone to put — and keep — their young lives focused in the right direction. If you don’t recognize certain names, International Newspaper Carrier Day is a great time to look them up and reflect on their accomplishments:

Walt Disney, J. Edgar Hoover, John Wayne, Martin Luther King Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, Isaac Asimov, Willie Mays, Wayne Gretzky, “Duke” Snider, Herbert Hoover, Alan Shepard Jr., John Glenn, Earl Warren, Harry S. Truman, Eddie Rickenbacker, Tom Brokaw, Jack Dempsey, Bob Hope, Danny Thomas, William O. Douglas, Carl Sandburg and Bing Crosby.

Appreciate your newspaper carrier as much as he or she appreciates you.

Someday you might be able to boast about having been acquainted with that someone who came out on top despite some power outages and mechanical malfunctions in their very early years.


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