Monday, February 13, 2006

Newsboy days

At age five, I sold newspapers. But it was only a single newspaper I sold, The Negros Chronicle which was published by my father.

The Negros Chronicle first hit the streets less than a year after the declaration of martial law. The Chronicle's maiden issue was on June 12, 1973.

When martial law was declared, Marcos closed down all media. A little later, the government allowed newspapers back into circulation. In each province, one newspaper was allowed to publish.

From being jobless, my father suddenly had a source of income to feed his family when he was granted a permit to publish a weekly community paper. During the days of martial law, one had to get a government permit to publish a newspaper.

We lived in a two-bedroom apartment along Silliman Avenue. If I am not mistaken, the monthly rent at that time was P250. It was right at the heart of Dumaguete City's commercial district, which was at that time, not really commerical.

Dumaguete was a sleeping city, but was largely known because of Silliman University.
It was not a long walk for me and several other kids to sell the newspaper. Just a few meters away, we were already at the corner of Silliman Avenue and Alfonso XII Street, the city's main intersection.

There, we sold newspapers. We were young salesmen. Kids from the neighborhood also sold newspaper like us.

The newspaper was sold at fifteen centavos. Those days, one centavo coins were legal tender.

In selling newspapers, I learned that I must prominently display the banner headline so potential buyers can see what the week's main story was. With that, I could perhaps close a sale.

At five years old, my selling newspapers on the streets was more of a training.
At the end of the day, newspaper is a business as it is a vocation.
To make the paper survive, one had to know how to sell the newspaper.
The most basic way to sell a newspaper, is to sell them on the streets.

Because of my early experience as a newsboy, I am always concious that newsboys are a vital component of a newspaper's operations.

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