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Today Marks Anniversary of the 1st Newspaper Carrier

Reflection of how the newspaper industry has changed since this day, 179 years ago, when the very first newspaper carrier was hired

Today marks the 179th anniversary of the day 10-year-old Barney Flaherty became the first newspaper carrier.  

On Sept. 10, 1833. Benjamin Day, publisher of The New York Sun, hired Flaherty to sell papers for his penny press. According to Holiday Insights, the only job requirement was to show he could throw a newspaper into the bushes.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Saturday of October International Newspaper Carrier's Day to honor current and former newspaper carriers - a list that includes thousands, if not millions, of people.

Years ago, this job was primarily populated by kids in their pre-teens through approximately 16.

Solano local Ryan Morgan recalls his newspaper delivering experience beginning as a 12-year-old in 1987.

"I delivered papers for about three years. It was fun and sometimes hard. Tuesdays were light, but Wednesdays and Sundays were big papers,” Morgan said. “My fondest memories were the abnormally warm mornings in the middle of winter, or that perfect throw from your bike to the front porch."

This anniversary deserves a reflection on how the printed newspaper changed daily news, and its progression to today's on-line news media, like The Patch.

The first American newspaper was printed in 1690.  Publick Occurrences was printed in Boston by Richard Pierce as a monthly, four page paper. In 1951, the postal service offered a discounted rate for mail delivery of newspapers, and in 1933, controversy arose as the newspaper industry wanted the Associated Press to terminate news service with the radio industry.

By 1954, there were more radios than daily newspapers, and so started the major shift in receiving news coverage. (About.com)

In 1951 Henry Steel Commager stated, "Here is the living disproof of the old adage that nothing is as dead as yesterday's newspaper..." leading us to where we are now, instant news readily available almost everywhere.

With sales of mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads, and Kindles in the millions, people have information at their fingertips, forcing a change to the traditional business model of newspaper reporting.

Pew Research Group reports a $10 billion decrease in newspaper circulation since 2003, and advertising revenues in printed newspapers have declined to less than 50 percent of figures from 2006.

On-line ad sales, however, are at an all time peak.

Morgan is now in charge of his family business, Morgan Fence Company, in Fairfield.

The former paperboy, however, doesn’t subscribe to any newspapers.

"It is sad to see printed paper fading away. I use the Internet on my Droid or desktop to get my information,” Morgan said, adding that he’s sad kids today won’t have the experience of a job that showed him the financial reward of working hard.

So as you peruse the World Wide Web for you daily headlines, take a moment to remember the feel and smell of a newspaper, and thank someone who used to, or maybe still does, toss it to your door.

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Carlos Villatoro September 10, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Nice story Lindsey!

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