I was a newspaper distributor with the Birmingham News for six years, and I feel bad for all those in the circulation department who will be losing their jobs. There are a lot of hard working people in that department, and it isn’t their fault that the editing and writing is left slanting and biased, but they will be the ones getting punished.
As a distributor, I had two carriers that worked under me, plus since I couldn’t afford to hire anyone else, I delivered papers myself. It is the only job I can think of that is 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Rain, snow, sleet… we were out there in everything. When gas prices shot up, I had to give my carriers a raise to help them out, but the newspaper didn’t give me one. :mad: And the way our contracts were written was extremely unfair to say the least. All complaints came out of the distributors pay, even if the presses were down and the papers were two hours late. It would be our fault if costumers complained of a late paper.
I do have a lot of good memories though. Driving at night, no traffic, the fresh air was incredibly peaceful. I used to pray a lot while I was out delivering. But it wasn’t worth it. After I had payed my carriers and put gas in my own car, I didn’t have much money left. All that work for pennies; it wasn’t worth it. Then of course during the daytime, a costumer would call and complain about something, and I would have to drive 40 miles round trip to take someone a new paper.
My contract was eliminated in June '09. The Birmingham News eliminated most of their distributors a couple of years ago. Now, the carriers work directly for the paper. Is service better or worse since then? I have no idea, haven’t kept up with it. :shrug: