National Newspaper Week: A ‘heartfelt thanks’ to dedicated carriers

For someone who enjoys getting up early and savouring the outdoors, being a newspaper carrier is the perfect fit.

Ponoka’s Sharon Rampersaud has been delivering the Red Deer Advocate for the past 17 years.

“I get exercise and I get paid to do it,” said the 72-year-old.

“I’m an early riser – it’s just part of my character – and I also like serving people. It’s a beautiful time in the morning when I get up early, especially when the sun is shining.

“I hear the first robin that sings and the geese that come in the spring. I get to see the gophers and I can enjoy everybody’s yards and their flowers when I deliver the paper. I get to take in the beauty of nature.”

Rampersaud and other newspaper carriers perform a valuable role in getting the news into the hands of readers, notes Deb Reitmeier, regional circulation manager for the Prairie division of Black Press Media, which includes the Red Deer Advocate.

The carriers deliver newspapers in all kinds of weather. It’s that level of commitment that is being recognized by National Newspaper Week, Oct. 4 to 10.

“We have carriers that range in age from 12 to their senior years,” said Reitmeier, who oversees approximately 500 delivery people at Black Press Media’s central Alberta publications.

“For younger people, it’s an opportunity to develop a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility. For many seniors, it’s about keeping active and being part of their community.

“To all of them, during National Newspaper Week, we extend our heartfelt thanks.”

Rampersaud, a retired practical nurse and physical therapy assistant, said her newspaper-delivery experience stretches back decades.

“I had a son who was 13 years old – he was born in 1984. He saw an ad in the newspaper looking for carriers, and he pleaded and begged with me that he wanted to do it,” she said.

“So, he’s the one who got me started, and then I just continued.”

Rampersaud delivers both the Red Deer Advocate and Ponoka News to homes in her community. She said the community has treated her well over the years.

“I’ve gotten a lot of compliments at Christmastime. They … express their appreciation. I feel validated and I do believe the customers appreciate and are interested in keeping up with the community news,” she said.

National Newspaper Week is designed to recognize the role that newspapers and their websites play in providing Canadians with credible, factual news and to spotlight why news media continues to be a trusted source of information that is critical to our democracy.

In fact, nine in 10 Canadians read newspapers each week across Canada – either in print or online.

National Newspaper Week is also a chance to reflect on the essential service newspapers provide with diverse, local, original content that cannot be found anywhere else.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Canada’s News Media. Champion the Truth.”

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