Trent Ernst, Editor
I had the conversation again last week.
Someone came into the office to stop delivery of the paper.
The reason? Because the paper blows around their yard.
While I can sympathize, here’s the thing: we are responsible for getting the paper to your doorstep. What happens to the paper once there? That’s your responsibility.
I know, in the past we put rubber bands around the paper which kept it from blowing around. But that was back when we had flyers and needed to put the whole thing into a bundle.
These days? Well, last week the paper was eight pages and no flyers. The paper is really too small to wrap up. Besides, there’s no reason to.
Or at least, there’d be no reason to if there was something there for the carriers to put the paper into. A newspaper box. An old rubber boot. A painted rock that says “paperweight.”
The conversation troubles me for another reason. Because it means one less house to deliver to.
You see, the Tumbler Ridge News has been Tumbler Ridge’s only local source for news, arts, events and opinions that affect the people of Tumbler Ridge for nearly twenty years, distributed free downtown and door to door.
For many local kids, distributing the paper has been their first job, their first source of income, their first outside responsibility.
But each person who says “don’t bother delivering, I can pick it up downtown” is cutting into the pay of those carriers.
Historically, the cost of delivering the newspapers has been covered by the flyers that are distributed with the paper, but the number of flyers that are being delivered has dropped to one or two a week at most. Many weeks there are no flyers.
In the past, kids would also be tipped for delivering the paper, but that, too, doesn’t happen much anymore.
Maybe it’s because the carriers don’t have regular schedules, so you don’t know when to be standing on the doorstep with a shiny loonie. Maybe it’s just because everyone in town is feeling the pinch and it’s hard to toss a buck or two at the paper carrier.
Whatever the reason, it means that your carriers are in peril. They get paid pennies to deliver your paper, and even that is threatened. It’s coming to a point where it will no longer worth it to them to deliver the paper.
So we’re asking for your support. Don’t stop door to door delivery because the paper is getting blown around. Find a rock or a boot or something.
(Of course, if you think that local news is boring, the paper isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on and free is too high a cost to pay for the tripe that we pass off as news, then yeah, go ahead. Stop delivery. We’re not holding a gun to your head or anything.)
Secondly, we’re establishing a virtual tip jar. It’s at a place called Patreon, and you can find it here.
Now you no longer have to wait for the carrier to walk by to give them a loonie. You can sign up and donate a dollar, five dollars … whatever you want.
All the money collected through Patreon will be used to pay the Tumbler Ridge News carriers, to help provide important skills to these kids and to get them a little pocket money.
Even if you don’t get the paper delivered to your door, say, because you live in an apartment, a few dollars a week would go a long way to helping keep the carriers gainfully employed.
We’re doing what we can on our end to make sure you get your weekly dose of Tumbler Ridge info. We hope that you’ll be able to help. Because it’s not about us. It’s for the kids. Support them here.