Beachcombing

Jay Beeler

It’s that time of year when we remind you that it’s okay to thank your Beachcomber carrier with a token of your appreciation for a job well done. Simply send your greetings to: Beachcomber Carrier, PO Box 15679, Long Beach, CA 90815-0679. We’ll use your return address to figure out who your carrier is and forward the item to them in a timely manner.

More than 20 years ago our advertising guru, John Tosdal, suggested that we use middle school students to distribute the paper, simply because his own daughter was in that age bracket. It has worked out well, especially in areas where the kids are not crossing busy streets in their deliveries. We use a commercial firm to handle distribution in residential areas not suited for bicycles or scooters.

A few hundred youngsters have taken advantage of the opportunity, later expressing their appreciation for having a “first job.” We often learn that it was one of the parents who encouraged their son or daughter to become a carrier because it was what they did to earn money. It’s also been very gratifying for us to learn of their successes later in life.

 

Iused to deliver the weekly TV Guide to Waynesboro, Penna. households back in the mid 1950s. Subscribers paid me 15 cents per issue and I got to keep 4 cents. Beachcomber carriers deliver door-to-door and typically make enough money to purchase their own electronic gadgets without the need for an allowance. That makes parents very happy.

As an older teenager my newspaper career was advanced by being a news stringer for the nearby Hagerstown, Md. Morning Herald. It involved checking in with local fire and police agencies for anything newsworthy and calling in the details to an editor. They paid me 25 cents per column inch for any story that ran.

Concurrently the Waynesboro Record Herald would pay an equivalent amount for any photos that I took at local sporting events.   As they say, “A photo is worth a thousand words.” It paid more than being a news stringer.

 

Fast forward a few decades to July 2000. It was then that John McNaughton proposed that we purchase his Los Altos Neighbor newspaper so that he could take a field representative position for 4th District Councilmember Dennis Carroll.

My PR/advertising agency was fairly adept at cranking out newsletters and we just finished working on the Census 2000 campaign for the City of Long Beach, so the timing was good to take on a new challenge. It has been fun, just like work should be.

 

Unlike the olden days, newspapering is not like having a money tree in your backyard. We have survived by being prudent with our spending and adjusting to the new reality of something called the internet.

In 2008 print advertising revenues went down drastically as internet spending soared. We survived by not having a large number of employees, opting instead for freelancers who were paid by the story. We’ve been blessed with a variety of folks (many retired) who have volunteered their talents as well as a few journalism interns from local colleges each semester.

So it was no surprise for me to learn that Pacific6 has shed its 17 LB Post and Business Journal staff, which has now become a non-profit entity. In fact, I was surprised that they maintained that much overhead for so many years. Read the details in Jon LeSage’s page one story in this issue.

 

Lean and mean, we’ll march forward with the task of bringing you all the local news that’s fit to print. As mentioned before, it is my intent to retire from the day-to-day editor and production activities on or before July 2025, when we’ll have a fulltime editor on board.

Meanwhile we’ll continue to have fun, thanking the advertisers, writers, contributors and delivery team who have supported us for these past 23+ years. Merry Christmas to all.

 

publisher@beachcomber.news

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