Brunswick News to start delivering packages for Amazon

Brunswick News, the media group that owns a dozen newspapers in the province, including the Telegraph Journal, will start delivering packages for online giant Amazon.

The Irving-owned media company posted a job earlier this summer for a Fredericton-based logistics coordinator, whose tasks will include tracking packages between the Amazon dispatch centre in Mississauga, Ont., until delivery, and managing returns.

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"It makes a lot of sense," said Kelly Toughill, associate professor of journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax.

"You want to leverage all your assets and if you are knocking on doors and driving down virtually every road in the province, why not drop off products for other people."

The job posting, which contained several references to Amazon, appears to have been modified this week. It now refers to the "client" when talking about where the packages are coming from.

Brunswick News did not respond to a CBC request for comment, and Amazon said it does not typically comment on internal business matters.

According to the job posting, Brunswick News would have distribution hubs in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.

It also said the carriers would deliver newspapers, flyers and packages.

A similar position for a logistics supervisor in Saint John was also posted last month.

Young paper carriers laid off

The posting comes at the same time as a minimum age of 19 years was put in place for people delivering newspapers.

Mark McLellan said he was looking into a paper delivery job last spring, as a way for his 14-year-old son to make some extra money with the Times & Transcript newspaper in Moncton.

"Turns out that we couldn't do that," said McLellan. "The email came back and said 'sorry, the requirement is 19 years of age to be a carrier.'"

McLellan said he thought this was a mistake until the information was eventually confirmed by a supervisor at the paper.

"The newspaper delivery seemed to be the original kid job. We all did it when we were 12 and 13," he said.

Half a dozen jobs with Brunswick News are now posted online for newspaper and package carriers and drivers. All indicate a minimum age of 19 years is required.

Fredericton's Cynthia Allen said she recently received a letter from her nine-year-old paper-boy.

"It said he wasn't going to be able to be our paper-boy anymore because there were some changes with the age restrictions on the job," she said.

Allen said the young carrier used to deliver the Daily Gleaner to her door. But Saturday was his last day.

"They were not really given any reason," she said. "Just that the policy was changing."

Example of Irving culture

The fact that teenagers still delivered newspapers in New Brunswick was an "anomaly," said Toughill.

It's unusual for a newspaper company to still own its delivery network, and in the last two decades, most newspapers outsourced their distribution in an effort to cut costs, she said.

Since Brunswick News was able to hold on to the service, the move to leverage it now was smart, she added.

"It doesn't surprise me to see Brunswick News going against the grain," she said. "They're really not afraid to do things differently."

She also called it an example of "taking the Irving culture" to newspapers.

"The Irvings are not known for outsourcing any part of their companies," she said. "The delivery business seems like a no brainer."