‘I used to deliver your newspaper.”

I’ve heard that line dozens of times in conversations with people in Southwest Michigan. It seems there was a time when many people – probably many of you reading this column – got their first jobs as paper boys or paper girls.

Every day after school they’d head off on foot or on their bicycles going door-to-door bringing the day’s news to their neighbors.

As times changed, the boys and girls were replaced by men and women. Residential sprawl out of the cities and into the townships, where houses were farther apart, created the need for more motor carriers to deliver the paper by car. And when The Herald-Palladium switched from afternoon to morning delivery, the work hours were less conducive to a youth’s schedule.

But no matter their age, the people who have delivered The Herald-Palladium and its predecessor publications to Southwest Michigan residents for the past 151 years deserve a big salute.

Maybe it’s hard for anyone younger than 20 to imagine, but there was a time in the pre-internet days that the print version of the newspaper was the only way to really stay informed about the community.

Lots of people do great work to produce the paper – the reporters, editors, advertising reps, graphic designers, press operators and mailroom workers. But the people over the years who have taken the finished product to the readers have played a vital role in community journalism.

The Herald-Palladium has many great carriers who take pride in that role and do a great job in sometimes awful weather conditions to deliver the papers each day. But as the job, and times, have changed, it has become more and more difficult to find replacements for those carriers when they leave their jobs. Subscribers not lucky enough to have one of those faithful carriers are often frustrated by delivery problems.

That’s one of the reasons we made the decision to start delivering The Herald-Palladium by mail starting Monday. The U.S. Postal Service already makes deliveries to all the homes and businesses in Southwest Michigan six days a week, so readers will be able to count on reliable delivery.

That means a change in reading habits for most subscribers. The paper will be delivered when the mail comes, not first thing in the morning. And there will be no paper on Sundays and postal holidays. Subscribers will have free access to all the news on our website – TheHP.com – early in the morning, including an e-edition, which is an electronic replica of the print edition. And the print editions will still be available at newsstands early in the morning.

However you read it, I hope you’ll still look to The Herald-Palladium as your primary source for Southwest Michigan news.

If you’re one of the hundreds of local residents who can tell me, “I used to deliver your newspaper,” or if you’re one of the people delivering this edition, I want to thank you for your service. I hope you take pride in the role you played in keeping your community informed.

What will change?

Although we will no longer be publishing on Sundays, readers will still get all the content of the Sunday paper – they’ll just get it a day early. Starting this week, our Saturday edition will be called the Weekend Edition and will include all the features that have been running in the Sunday edition, including color comics, TV grids, advertising insaerts and coupons. In addition, regular Saturday features – daily comics, puzzles and Religion pages – will be included.

Starting next week, we are expanding our Monday edition to make room for more local news and sports from the weekend. We’ll bring back the Monday Opinion page.

Readers who don’t want to wait until Mondays to read about weekend news and sports events can go to our website. We’ll be posting news and sports coverage throughout the weekend.

If you are a subscriber but have not registered for online access, you can do so by going to www.TheHP.com/users/signup.

Dave Brown is the managing editor of The Herald-Palladium. Email: dbrown@TheHP.com.