Author Michael Sherer gives us Blake Sanders, a humble newspaper
delivery man with a complicated past, in his new mystery Night Blind. The
world is turned upside down on a cold November night, when an elderly woman on
Blake’s newspaper route is brutally stabbed to death and Blake is charged with
her murder. Faced with life in prison, his only hope is to find the real
killer. Now Michael Sherer gives us his top five reasons not to become a
newspaper carrier. Take heed!
5. No job security.
In case you hadn’t heard, newspapers—the printed versions, at least—are going
out of business. Between 2008 and 2010, eight major newspaper companies went
bankrupt, and hundreds of small daily and weekly papers closed or moved online
with Web-only publications. Industry experts have predicted that half of the
remaining 1,400 daily newspapers in the U.S. could close their doors in the
4. The pay sucks. In
a competitive market like Seattle where there’s still one major daily newspaper
and a relatively large readership base, carriers can expect to make, on
average, about $1,000 per month. Experienced carriers with large routes can
make as much as $1,500 in a good month. But factor in vehicle maintenance,
insurance, depreciation, health care, etc., all of which carriers must pay for
from their own pockets, and it barely pays to get out of bed some days.
3. The hours are
terrible. Carriers go to work around 1 a.m. It takes from one to two hours
to assemble papers, and another two hours or so to deliver them, depending on
the route. The Seattle Times
guarantees delivery by 5:30 a.m., and printed papers aren’t delivered to its
distribution centers until about 12:30 a.m., so carriers have only about five
hours in which to do the job.
However, the hours fall right in the beginning to middle of
third shift—the graveyard shift. For most carriers, predominantly
immigrants—The Seattle Times estimates that at any given time about half speak
English as a second language—delivering papers is a second or even third job.
That aside, people who work the night shift have more sleep
disorders, a higher incidence of serious diseases, including cancer, are more
prone to accidents, and have higher rates of obesity and substance abuse than
people who work days. In fact, the 15 million Americans who work nights are at
higher risk for just about everything except skin cancer since they don’t see
2. The schedule’s a
killer. Route drivers deliver papers seven days a week. No days off, no
holidays. No such thing as time-and-a-half for working those weekends or
1. You’re more likely to
be a crime victim. Carriers have been robbed, carjacked, assaulted and hit
by drunk drivers. If you’re as unlucky as Blake Sanders in Night Blind, you
might even be framed for murder.