Multitasking: California newspaper asks reporters to be paper boys

One of California’s largest newspapers has asked reporters and other employees to help deliver papers on Sundays, according to a memo obtained by Reuters. The Santa Ana-based Orange County Register, which recently stopped contracting with rival Los Angeles Times for delivery services, is offering $150 gift cards to staff members if they deliver 500 to 600 papers, according to the memo sent on Thursday, which was confirmed by the paper’s top editor.

The entire company – all departments, including our newsroom – has been asked to help during what has clearly been a difficult situation. It’s strictly voluntary.

Editor Rob Curley

Employees have also been asked to help out in customer service, personally telephoning subscribers who had not been able to reach a live agent, according to the memo sent to the staff. Earlier this month the Register reported that two investor groups had told a judge in Delaware that the company was insolvent and asked the court to appoint a receiver to oversee the company’s finances. Newspapers have been struggling for years amid the rise of online communications.

It’s unusual, yes. It’s frustrating that we’re even in this position. But it’s temporary. Bottom line: all of us want our loyal readers to get their papers first thing in the morning.

Rob Curley