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Publisher's column: Late newspaper deliveries frustrating for us as well

Our staff fields numerous calls each week from subscribers who didn’t receive their paper. Our reporting team fields questions from people on the street or at public meetings about why the paper doesn’t get to their mailbox. And our sales team hears from advertisers who are dismayed over the late deliveries as well.

Devlyn Brooks.png
Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service
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Because much of the work that our staff does – both the newsroom and sales team – hangs out there for the entire public to see, I am empathetic to the troubles the local Detroit Lakes post office is experiencing.

In a story we published in the Nov. 23 edition of the Detroit Lakes Tribune we wrote about the increase in local residents’ complaints about spotty or inconsistent mail delivery in recent months. Some residents and businesses are saying they’ve gone three or more days without mail delivery.

I’m not here to pile on. This column isn’t about hanging out someone else’s dirty laundry, so to speak. After all, our story stands on its own merits. And you can see in the reporting the post office’s official response.

But I am here to add my 2 cents as publisher of community newspapers that depend upon the postal service to reach our customers. All of our papers – the Tribune, the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal – are distributed through the mail.

Longtime subscribers to the Tribune will remember a day not long ago when carriers delivered the Tribune to their paper tubes or doorsteps. But in recent years we made a critical business decision to switch our paper delivery to mail to keep our newspaper vital. When we did so, though, we never could have anticipated a scenario in which our customers didn’t receive their papers for days, if at all.

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Our staff fields numerous calls each week from subscribers who didn’t receive their paper. Our reporting team fields questions from people on the street or at public meetings about why the paper doesn’t get to their mailbox. And our sales team hears from advertisers who are dismayed over the late deliveries as well.

I don’t have the answers for the post office. And I don’t want to make a challenging workforce situation for them worse by throwing them under the bus. After all, they wouldn’t be the first business to suffer workforce shortages. I’m sure that we could write that same story for nearly every business sector in town.

But what I will say to our readers and advertisers is … we hear you! We understand your frustration over the newspaper not being delivered in a timely manner, or at all.

And while we may not be able to assist the post office with this challenge, we promise all of our readers that we will always provide you with a paper. If you don’t receive your newspaper on time, feel free to stop by the office, we’ll get you one. We want you to see the hard work that our newsroom and sales folks put into every edition. So please reach out if you need a paper!

Finally, it sounds promising that the post office has been able to recently hire more personnel. The postal service is an important part of commerce and personal connection in our community. So, from one local community institution to another, we wish you the best of luck!

Devlyn Brooks is the publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, and their associated websites. He can be reached at dbrooks@dlnewspapers.com or at 218-844-1451.

Related Topics: COMMENTARY
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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