More Messages: Special Delivery

Over the past month or so, some of the same folks who assemble the editorial material to be found in the Boulder Daily Camera have been delivering it, too.

As noted in this December 9 article, execs at the Daily Camera recently decided to outsource delivery of its papers to the Denver Newspaper Agency -- a move that prompted "the layoff of five newspaper employees and an end to its relationship with about 70 people who contract to deliver the paper." The reason was simple, according to Camera publisher Albert Manzi (pictured). "It made no sense having two carriers going past the same house when you could have one," he notes. The DNA was already delivering the Camera to the latter's mountain and college routes, as well as to subscribers in Broomfield, and Manzi says, "It made sense to expand that contract to include all delivery areas."

The plan called for the DNA to start shlepping the Camera to residents in the eastern portion of Boulder County on January 15 prior to taking over the entire delivery task on January 29. But a kink soon developed. The contract the Camera had with its carriers allowed the paper to give them a thirty-day termination notice, and anyone who departed early would receive a penalty -- yet, as Manzi concedes, plenty of them split anyway. That left the Camera with a major carrier shortfall that was worsened by the string of storms that's battered the area. Some employees and managers volunteered to lend a hand during this period, but not enough -- so staffers have been offered extra cash to pitch in.

Manzi says those who accepted this offer have been paid "hourly rates" to deliver the paper during bad weather and on weekends; a knowledgeable source reveals that $10 per hour is the standard fee. That's a modest amount for a very tough job -- and the hours suck. Earlier today, Camera circulation director Jason Turner sent out an internal e-mail trolling for helpers on the last weekend before the DNA takes over, and he pointed out that those interested in accepting the deal must show up "at 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday morning."

Sounds like a party in the making. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts