CLICK’… Newspaper Home Delivery Problem Solved!
“The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio and television is simply to get out better papers.” - Henry Lewis Mencken
For as long as I can remember, even when my age was in single digits, the local newspaper was delivered to my home. When we moved to Virginia in 1972, I immediately subscribed to The Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star. And, when we returned to Clarksburg, I immediately ‘re-subscribed’ to The Exponent Telegram. However, last week I cancelled my home-delivery subscription, due to inconsistent delivery times and never knowing where the paper will be located, or even delivered. In defense of the newspaper, the days of the neighborhood boy or girl tossing the paper on the walk or porch are long gone. First, it is not safe for young ones to be on the street in the early morning hours – a reflection of where we are heading as a society. Second, I really do not think there would be enough youthful interest in delivering papers - another reflection.
Everyone of my carriers for the last 13 years have been, by my estimate, at least 30 years old or older. One swerved his car from side to side as the passenger threw the paper out the car window. Another, parked his car, got out, threw three or four papers toward doors, got back in his car, drove 50 yards and repeated the action. The landing zone was always unpredictable. However, I did have one carrier, who lived in another town, who actually took the time to walk toward my front door and lay the paper on the porch. She was a gem! She did not last long.
Prior to my cancellation, my paper arrived anywhere from 5:30: a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Yes, I am up that early and yes, the circulation desk has told me deliverers have a 6-8:00 a.m. window. However, old habits are difficult to break. I love the mornings and have always enjoyed my morning coffee, along with my paper – if, and when it arrived.
The other issue is ‘where’ it arrives. I have found it anywhere within a 50’ x 50' area. In the warm Summer mornings, it is merely annoying to find it barely over the fence or in the middle of the yard. However, when there is 4” of snow on the ground and the deliverer fails to find a 5’ wide shoveled front walk that is 40’ long …that goes way beyond annoying.
And in the Spring and Summer months, when the flowers, hydrangeas, peonies, and lilacs are in bloom, and the porch full of flowers…I rushed outside to grab the paper and hide any damage before Sandra sees where it landed. Also, it is a little unnerving when the deliverer rings my door bell at 6:30 a.m. to ask why I complained to the office about where my paper landed. I said, “I did not call because of where it landed. I called because it ‘never’ landed." He missed me that day. Also, hearing about all his medical problems, which he uses as excuses for delivery issues, is way too much information. And, to be honest, a little creepy.
Therefore, after much discussion, and with a certain amount of anxiety, we cancelled our home delivery. Then, I did something which I never thought I would do – I signed up for the e-Edition. For the millennial's and younger, you will never understand my anxiety. However, I like many old(er) readers, entered the technology age with manual typewriters and party-line phones. And now, I just signed up for the e-Edition of The Exponent Telegram. It has been one hell of a ride!
A ride I would encourage everyone to take, especially those who have experienced similar or worse delivery problems and have a computer and or a smartphone. Pick up your newspaper and compare front pages. This is mine from a couple days ago.
The pictures are clear, colors vivid, and the print is sharp-black and easy to read. Because of the bright colors, I actually spend more time with the ads. The comics, which I feel reflect real life and thoroughly enjoy, jump off the page. And, it only took a few minutes to figure out how to navigate the pages. Now, look at your paper version.
Other advantages of e-Editions: No more ink all over my hands, which I usually transfer to something Sandra finds upsetting. No more slightly burning eyes from the ink and or paper. And, I save a lot of money, especially since my paper discontinued the Monday edition, but did not adjust my bill. Yes, a couple of pages were added to Tuesday, but I still miss Monday’s paper. Enough of that.
Continuing: There is also the enormous convenience with the e-Edition. As long as I have my iPhone with me, I always have The Exponent at my fingertips. Yes, I have come of age…finally!
Now, I do not care what the weather is like in the morning…all I have to do is “Click.’ Newspaper Home Delivery Problem Solved.” Something I would ask everyone to consider…that is unless you have a reliable 12-year-old, who lives in your neighborhood, whose father occasionally helps out, and inherited his paper route from his older brother.
Before I end this piece, I would like to say, “I have not been totally honest.” I still do have one home delivery newspaper, The Shinnston News and Harrison County Journal. The editor, Leigh Merrifield, does a magnificent job of presenting the news in a ‘homey’ fashion that reminds me of newspapers from by-gone-days, yet it is up-to-date informative and educational. It is delivered directly by USPS to my mail slot every week.
The Shinnston News does have an e-Edition, but I am taking it one step at a time. Old men can learn new ricks…it just takes us a little longer. We do not get up and down or roll over as quickly as we once did.
Returning to my main reason for cancelling: I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to hire (and keep) reliable deliverers. The neighborhood paper boy or girl is now extinct. Soon, the (paper) newspaper, I fear, will go the way of my Monday paper and the twice-a-day paper of my parent’s generation. Yes, we once had a morning and afternoon paper - The Exponent and The Telegram. I will miss holding my daily newspaper...to a certain extent. But, circumstances forces us to adjust. And adjust I did
Finally, I want to defend newspapers everywhere. Even the obviously biased ones. Without dedicated journalists and free-press committed newspapers, we would regress to a society controlled by corrupt oligarchies and psychopathic dictators. A free society needs and depends upon newspapers, not only to educate and inform...but to make us think! And now, I always have the newspaper with me...as long as I have my iPhone.
And that’s the way I see it.
This is Michael Saying, “Good bye and good reading” “CLICK.”
On the whole, these essays encourage us to nurture our better selves—and who among us doesn’t need an occasional nudge toward greater kindness, tolerance, and appreciation of the things that really matter in life?
“Mike: Thank you for the copy of your book “Life through these Eyes.”
I am honored that you gave me one of the first copies. I have had the opportunity to read several chapters today and must say that I am impressed. You are a very talented writer. Congratulations my friend! Best, Andy”