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57 years later, Duluth newspaper carrier receives award

Some 57 years later, a Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Herald carrier made a stop for a newspaper collection. A collection of his award, that is. In 1956, Ronald Anderson, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orien C. Anderson, 50 Artavia St., posed with the c...

Ronald Anderson
Ronald Anderson holds a 1956 copy of the Duluth Herald with a picture and news brief of his carrier of the month award. Last week he finally got the award. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger/ Budgeteer News)

Some 57 years later, a Duluth News Tribune and Duluth Herald carrier made a stop for a newspaper collection. A collection of his award, that is.

In 1956, Ronald Anderson, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orien C. Anderson, 50 Artavia St., posed with the carrier of the month trophy he had won during National Newspaper Week in a photo opportunity at the newspaper building.

But Anderson says the trophy wasn't his; it was just a "dummy" trophy. He says he was told he would receive the real award later.

An article printed in the Tuesday, Oct. 2, 1956, edition of the Duluth Herald reads: "His supervisor, Chester Peterson, said salesmanship and punctual service were the particular qualifications which won the award for Ronald. He built his route up from 47 to 101 subscribers."

By the time Anderson left for agriculture school in Grand Rapids, he had built his route up to 250 subscribers.

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About four years ago, the Kenwood neighborhood native, now living near Phoenix, Ariz., was organizing his belongings when he came across the 8 by 10 glossy photographs the Tribune and Herald had given him after the photo appeared in the paper.

"Hey I never got that!" Anderson recalled thinking when he stumbled across the photo with the trophy.

Anderson said likes to visit Duluth in the summer, so four years ago he stopped by to visit Ken Browall, publisher of the News Tribune. Browall gave him a tour of the facility.

Last week, Barb Oland, a current News Tribune circulation coordinator, said, "You did a good job!" as she presented him with his long-awaited award and a hug.

"They must have recognized that or they wouldn't have selected me," Anderson said. "They must have had a couple hundred newspaper boys."

Anderson said the job of newspaper carrier was considered a plum job.

"Back then, getting a paper route was pretty difficult. There was always a waiting list (of young people waiting to be carriers)."

He said having a paper route taught him the "value of money and business smarts."

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"That was back when we had to collect. We knocked on doors each week and collected our dollar or 30 cents."

Standing in the foyer of the News Tribune building last week, Anderson said he remembers that Mondays were the nights the carriers brought the money into their supervisors.

"They must have had a couple hundred newspaper boys. The hallway was lined up pretty deep."

He said he'd bring in a satchel of money, talk to his supervisor who would give him a list of new customers or talk to him about any complaints. "We did all the collecting back then," he said. "We kept track of all the deadbeats that didn't pay (because the Herald and Tribune) didn't say, 'Well that's okay Ron, you don't have to pay.'"

Anderson said having a route also taught him how to repair a bicycle. "I literally wore out my bicycle and it was a side benefit. I learned how to fix it."

His wife, Betty, an Arizona native, said she thought delivering the newspapers in the snow would not be easy.

"I enjoyed it," Ronald said. "It was a great experience. It wasn't too fun in the wintertime. But you did it."

Anderson worked for Johnson Auto parts in Duluth before moving to Phoenix where he later had his own PPG Automotive Franchise.

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Anderson remembers purchasing the family's first television set in 1956 with his own earnings.

Ronald Anderson
Barb Oland, coordinator at the News Tribune circulation department, presents the carrier of the month award to Ronald Anderson on Friday, July 19. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger /Budgeteer News)

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