Young paper deliverers being laid off
By Chandler Walter, Assistant Editor
The print newspaper has long been a dying industry, ever since the radio shoved it towards its slow descent into irrelevance. Now the modern era of technology has come to stomp it to the very depths of its demise.
Papers that had long heralded the news to all who had the eyes and curiosity to pick up an issue have been closing their doors. Some have turned into fully web-based models, others have been swallowed up by kindred publications as a financial Hail-Mary. An unlucky many have died off completely, gone from front-doors and mail slots across the country.
While this tragic reality is a severe blow to an educated democracy, none feel the daggers of dead words and inkless papers more than those whose job, duty, and honour it was to physically bring the news to the people. Paper route carriers have been hit—and hit hard—by the slow and utter decay of printed news, with many being laid off from jobs that had spanned generations.
“My brother, he passed the job down to me,” said Charlie Ackleson, 13, who had delivered the New Westminster News Leader to his neighborhood, “and I had been planning on passing the job down to my little brother as well, but…” Ackleson had tears trickling down his cheeks, and his silence spoke louder than any words he could have mustered to describe what losing his job was like.
Ackleson is merely a drop in the bucket, as many more paper deliverers like him have fallen victim of the same misfortune.
“I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Timmy Buckley, a 12-year-old carrier who had been at his job for an entire 6 months before getting the bad news. “I’ve got some savings, but I don’t know how long that’s going to last. I have hamsters that need to be fed, a bike that needs a new bell… I’m in deep here.” Buckley said that the financial support from his parents helps during these trying times, but that it’s only a life-raft keeping him afloat in a sea of uncertainty.
“I’ve been looking into where I’ll go from here,” Buckley said, taking a long bite from a Popeye’s candy stick. “I have some buddies down at the Herald that might be able to get me on, but rumour is they might be downsizing too, cutting some neighborhoods. It’s just tragic, you know? You think you’re doing something good, something of value for the people around here, and all you’re met with is layoff and disappearing routes. It’s criminal.” Buckley then took a long look to the west, as though there was something aching in his soul that he just couldn’t put words to, try though he might.
“I just… I don’t like where this world is heading,” he said, just before riding off on his bicycle, as the streetlights were turning on and he had to be home.