THE SUN SWITCHES TO USPS DELIVERY

Former newspaper delivery drivers saw it coming 

By Courtney Edwards | Aspiring Journalist
Delta Digital News-Service

JONESBORO, Ark. – Jonesboro’s local newspaper, “The Sun”, recently announced a change to their delivery service. Beginning Apr. 27 the paper will no longer be delivered to homes by newspaper delivery drivers, but the United States Postal Service.

Lesia Brown worked as a carrier for “The Sun” for 27 years. She said the change in the delivery system didn’t surprise her much.

“We kind of saw it coming,” Brown said. “They’ve lost of lot of subscribers. I used to have 600 papers and then I had 375.”

Brown blamed the downfall of subscribers to the Internet. She also said after the tornado tore through Jonesboro in March 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to close, subscriptions declined even more.

John Erickson worked as a carrier for The Sun for over 20 years as well. He said he was surprised about the change at first.

“It caught me by surprise at first, but then it didn’t,” Erickson said. “I knew something was coming. The numbers they were printing every night were just slowly decreasing.”

Both Brown and Erickson said they thought “The Sun” would eventually close down or at least switch to a completely online version. Neither saw much of a future ahead of the century-old paper.

Subscriber Cheryl Robbins said she would not read “The Sun” anymore if it switched to digital copies only.

“I’m a paper person,” Robbins said. “With over 75,000 in a town, we can’t discontinue our town paper.”

Robbins said the switch to mail delivery would affect her the most in the summer, since she was used to reading through the paper while sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee in the mornings.

Brown used to deliver “The Sun” to many subscribers in Jonesboro, including Diana Davis, an award-winning anchor for KAIT-TV in Jonesboro. Davis published an appreciation post for Brown to Facebook on Apr. 25.

“I was so surprised,” Brown said. “It made me cry.”

Erickson also had his fair share of appreciative subscribers. He said he already missed his job as a carrier because he especially enjoyed making sure their paper was delivered on time and placed where they wanted it.

Both Brown and Erickson said they hadn’t thought of what the future holds for them yet. At 60 years old, Brown said she knows it would be hard for her to find another job. Luckily, she was already working a second job before the switch to mail delivery.

Erickson said although he hadn’t thought about what he would do next, he was looking forward to being able to sleep more after all those long nights delivering papers.

“The Jonesboro Sun” did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The paper will continue to be delivered to homes Tuesday-Saturday, and the e-Edition will be available online every morning at 5 a.m.

In addition to this, “The Sun” also announced a new weekend edition of the paper to replace their current Sunday edition. The first weekend edition was distributed May1, and included color comics, Parade Magazine and their TV Entertainment book along with advertising circulars and specials.

Note: Feature photo by Courtney Edwards