End of the personal newspaper delivery era

Ryan Miller

Contributing Writer

ryanm3@goshen.edu

For the last two summers I spent my nights delivering newspapers in Goshen. Every morning around 1:00 a.m. I would go to downtown Goshen to pick up my 70 copies of the Goshen News, 50 of the Elkhart Truth, and six of the South Bend Tribune. I would deliver them in the early morning, often getting home around 4:00 a.m.

It was something that I enjoyed and being alone in a place that was close to my heart (with no distractions other than police, wildlife, drunk people, and various security guards) brought me peace. I ended my time doing the paper route this year, expecting that I would be able to come back and help with the route over the breaks: fall, Christmas, spring and eventually summer.

Then I got the call.

My boss phoned me one morning before class at around 3:00 a.m. some four weeks ago. He had called to tell me that the route would no longer be available for anybody after Sunday, September 20. Starting Monday morning, September 21, the Goshen News would stop home deliveries and begin to mail all of their papers.

I had a strange mix of emotions. I was happy about the fact that I would not have to worry about the insane sleep schedule that the route imposed. I was sad to hear that the most stable job I ever had over the last two summers would be gone. I was mostly confused. I was confused as to why the Goshen News would take away the jobs of 20 to 30 people by deciding to mail the papers. I know that for many of these people this was their only source of income. As far as I know, home delivery has been a part of the paper service as long as the paper has been printed.

I liked my job. I wanted to continue the experience as long as I could. I told my boss that he would most likely see me more over the coming weeks and that I would be willing to do the route since it had become a part of me. I knew where houses were, where clients wanted their papers, and which ones gave the biggest tips if you were considerate about where you left the paper and how you left it. Needless to say, I was sad.

Over the next four weeks, I did the route a total of 6 times, twice doing it on a school night. I wanted to do the route as many times as I could before it effectively vanished into thin air. Two weeks before I concluded my full time portion of the route, I left a note in each paper explaining that I would be a college student and that I would no longer be doing the route.

Starting on Monday, September 21, the Elkhart Truth and South Bend Tribune began to restructure their entire operation. Instead of picking up papers in Goshen, carriers will now pick up papers in downtown Elkhart and they will also restructure the routes.

My route contained a combined 60 Elkhart and South Bend papers. At a pay of 14 cents per paper, it is not worth the hassle to drive to Elkhart to pick up 60 papers and drive 10 miles through Goshen to deliver them. The routes have been redone so that each route would have at least 100 papers in a local area. This took the number of routes that started in the Goshen warehouse from 25 or so down to ten.

In conclusion, this means that many carriers are out of a job. Some carriers are significantly less than pleased by the fact that this was happening. A few of them had no specific opinion. Some are even happy that this has happened and that they will not have to resign from their jobs as carriers.

Hearing that the Goshen News was switching their paper service to postal delivery was unexpected. I was anticipating the numbers would decrease slowly with the rise of technology, but I had never expected to lose my job because of a simple mailing of papers. I continue to have mixed feelings about this happening and what it will mean for the future. But, for now, I look forward to having more full nights of sleep.

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