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Monday, 25 February 2013

Where's the Paperboy?

By Susan Gulliford of Hillsborough NJ Journal

When did newspaper delivery change?

Growing up, the newspaper was delivered by breakfast time by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle (I understand that some places had afternoon papers, but I am not personally familiar with such foreign customs.)

He had a large canvas bag imprinted with the name of the newspaper looped around his handlebars filled with papers folded in thirds with one end tucked inside the other. As he bicycled down your block he threw a newspaper generally toward each customer’s front porch. Many comics and TV shows had funny bits based on the misplacement of the thrown newspapers.

Somewhere along the way, women’s lib hit the ranks of newspaper boys when girls also became newspaper carriers. Leave It to Beaver even had a show based on the Cleavers having a girl delivering their newspaper.

Every Saturday, your carrier would collect the week’s bill; either you put the money outside in a special envelop or he came to the door and collected in person: “Mom, the paperboy’s here for his money!”

I don’t remember when our newspaper carrier morphed into an adult using a car – a rather nice car – to deliver our paper to the foot of our driveway before dawn. It had to do with newspaper delivery becoming too dangerous for children and children being too busy for the job.

# # #

I went online looking for the paperboy and found that, according to Wikipedia, in 1984, he became an Atari arcade game where "...The players take on the role of a paperboy who delivers newspapers along a suburban street on his bicycle..."

Another Wikipedia entry states that: "Today, with the latest child labor laws, most paper boys are aged 13 or over.'"

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I miss the daily delivered paper, but I don't miss the car engine idling at the curb, at 5 A.M. I gave it up the day I was told that my missing paper would be credited to my account, but not delivered.

Oh yes, I hope it never dies.
My granddaugher told me that it will all be digital internet, but I reminded her that the "daily news" will not. People still love to read the local happenings, and maybe see their picture in the paper. She has no clue as to what is going on around her.

Newspapers are having a hard time now, competing with the computer, but I still like the paper in my hand while I read it with my morning coffee. I also like the local section.

I think the comments drifted toward newspapers and not the delivery boy. I think people got less enthusiastic about kids delivering the newspaper for two reasons. One, having them go house to house to pick up money when people didn't want to pay made the job really tough. And the rise in awareness of sexual predetors made it tougher to feel good about sending kids out to knock on doors, not knowing what they were going to run into. But delivery changed always anyway. Remember the kid who stood on the corner shouting, "Read all about it?" That was the first way kids "delivered" newspapers.

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