A Newspaper Delivery Boy Song to Brighten Your Day (Unless You Over-Analyze it The Way I’m About To Do)

Hi Folks! Just had this wonderful song sent to me: “Neat to be a Newsboy,” from the musical “Working” by Stephen “Wicked” Schwartz based on the book by Studs Terkel. This is not to be confused with the Disney musical “Newsies” — but I have a feeling I’d like that one, too.

Anyway, to very quickly beat my point (and possibly you) over the head: Delivering papers was a NORMAL thing for an 11-year-old to do, before we started criminalizing kids doing anything on their own, even walking home, or waiting in the car for a few minutes at that age. And now — the song:

20 Responses

  1. So,
    Do kids still deliver papers???

  2. The other factors are economic: the dwindling value of the dollar and the need for adults to have second jobs to keep family finances rolling. My aunt & uncle had newspaper routes for years paying off my cousin’s education. It also has become more of a retail operation than a job per se: paper delivery people buy the papers from the publisher and in effect resell them to you.

  3. I used to have a paper route. It was 25 years ago (my goodness, that makes me feel old). It was great! Another factor that has changed is that now the papers are all delivered in the morning before 6 am as opposed to when I delivered the afternoon edition after school!

  4. I believe it is a combination of economic times and not allowing kids to deliver anymore. The routes are just not available to kids, as adults sign on for multiple routes and use their vehicles to get it done. As a kid I never did a route, I was the one looking to mow lawns, rake, shovel and such. But when I had nothing to do, I remember helping my bud do his route, and yes for free. The faster he got done the sooner we could hang out.
    I can remember his Grandma being worried about dogs on his route. He loved dogs but she had a fear of them. He told her it was taken care of, because he would buy and take dog treats with him on his route. It didnt take long for every dog to learn his schedule and be waiting for their treat.

  5. I was a paper-girl. Started when I was 11. Did it for almost three years before they turned it into a driving route for adults. Delivered a good mile on a busy road. It had no sidewalks on one side and I rode my scooter with my paper carrier bag strapped around the handle bars. I collected the money from everyone too. I learned math, customer service and diligence. Rain or shine, snow or heat wave….this was in the mid-eighties….. Oh, and it was turned into a driving route after they put in sidewalks!

  6. Our paper delivery in our town has changed drastically over the years. Gone are days of the kids delivering and now adults do it. I don’t think I’ve noticed a paper delivery kid for 10 years. No longer do they collect at the door; its all pre-payed to eliminate errant folks who don’t like to pay. And the paper WANTS their money. Now the only problem is hopefully the adults delivering aren’t the errant ones and are always delivering every day at relatively the same time.

  7. Google: “Her first job was a paper route in 1974.”

  8. Another thing to think about in terms of why routes may have been turned into ‘driving’ routes: How many people in your neighborhood actually get the paper anymore? If only one house on every block gets the paper, you have to cover a lot of ground to make any money. How much time would it take for a walker or biker to do it? In most areas, it makes more sense, financially and time-wise, to drive.

  9. In the Netherlands kids stil deliver newspapers. But you have to be 14, I think.

  10. Becki: I was going to say the same thing. Used to be that almost everyone got the paper, so a kid could pretty easily throw a paper onto almost every driveway on the block. But now I would be shocked if even half of my neighbors got the paper. (We don’t.) Which means it hardly makes sense for a kid on a bike to do the route. So, it’s an adult with a car pitching newspapers out the window instead because they’re the only ones who can cover the much larger territory.

    Too bad, really. Good physical exercise, good independence building, good route-navigating skills development, and good community building. A little bit of pocket change is nice, too.

  11. I had paper routes from age 13 to 15. For better or worse! I lived in the snow belt, so trudging through knee-deep snow was definitely part of why I never got fat. Ha! I was terrible at managing the money, but at least I made my mistakes before they mattered too much. When I finally quit, my mom paid off my overdue bill and I had to do a long list of extra chores, for many months, to make up for it.

    So now I don’t know what my kids will do when they are that age. I’m looking into Urban 4H. Or, as a business owner, maybe I could offer them a real job (would it really be real if their mom was an owner?)

  12. When I sent this in I was going to suggest substituting “cool” for “boss” and “awsome” for “funky” to make it relevant for today but I don’t know what to substitute for “newsboy”.

  13. My 14 year old son has delivered the paper here for 2 years. It is a twice a week local paper which is free and so goes to almost every house – you are right about the national daily, too few houses so it is done by adults from a van covering a big area. 11 is the minimum age for the local paper runners. My son has gained hugely from his round – time organisation (he gets up early on Fridays to do half his round before school because it was taking too long after), diligence (gotta be done, even if its raining or you just don’t feel like it- no snow here though!) and of course he loooves having his own money. One very important thing is that we live close (VERY close) to his high school, so he has minimal travel time (3 min walk from our back door to his classroom – half of that is on campus…🙂 ). If he had to bus across town to a private school he probably couldn’t do the paper round.

  14. Probably the reason why kids don’t deliver the paper anymore is that so many of them were being molested. As a paperboy I kind of enjoyed it, though.

  15. “Or, as a business owner, maybe I could offer them a real job (would it really be real if their mom was an owner?)”

    It is if you treat them like any other employer would and as you do any other employee. I worked for my parents for most of my childhood. If everyone treats it as a real job, it is a real job.

  16. I did three paper runs but nowadays paper boys no longer exist. They were done away with because these kids were being beaten up and had their money stolen. So for the genuine protection of children from being bashed and mugged, they stopped having paper boys.

  17. Probably the reason why kids don’t deliver the paper anymore is that so many of them were being molested. As a paperboy I kind of enjoyed it, though.

    There are two ways to parse that sentence…😀

  18. We did a paper route through university. It paid for those little luxaries like food (rent and bills were just covered through my normal job). By doing 8 routes we could pay the food bill and put fuel in the car. So, we were taking these opportunities away from the younger ones.

  19. “It is if you treat them like any other employer would and as you do any other employee. I worked for my parents for most of my childhood. If everyone treats it as a real job, it is a real job.”

    If anything, my dad was harder on my brothers and me than on the ladies he hired in his pharmacy. One difference was that you generally wouldn’t hire anyone else at below minimum wage to do nothing but simple tasks at the age of 10, but OTOH, we were consummately “underpaid” while we remained underqualified. Once reaching “normal working age” in the early teens, we had the same job with the same or higher expectations as the “real” employees.

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