The Orange County Register is now asking its reporters and other staff members to deliver papers.
Amid continued problems with newspaper deliveries, the paper is offering employees up to $150 in Visa gift cards to deliver hundreds of newspapers on Sundays and Thanksgiving, according to a sign-up form contained in an email to employees Thursday.
The effort is part is the Register's "We Care" campaign, launched after a switch in carriers left thousands of papers undelivered. Previously, the Register asked staffers to make customer service calls to those affected.
The unusual requests signal that problems persist since the Register switched from Los Angeles Times distributors to new carriers in early October.
“Employees ranging from the pressroom to the newsroom have stepped up to help by personally calling subscribers and helping to deliver papers on our biggest circulation days,” Register interim publisher Richard Mirman said in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure that all our customers receive their paper consistently and on time. It is important that our customers know that we care and we are working hard to address our issues.”
The Times has said it informed the Register in September that it was in default on its delivery contract and had 30 days to pay. Freedom CEO Aaron Kushner has said the switch was made after The Times "refused to guarantee uninterrupted delivery of our paper."
In mid-October, The Times sued the Register, alleging breach of contract and failure to pay about $2.5 million in fees for delivering the newspaper.
Mirman said that only “a select few delivery routes continue to be affected by intermittent or late delivery.”
Freedom Communications this year has endured rounds of layoffs, lawsuits and the closing of a new daily paper in Los Angeles.
Also this week, the Register sent letters to employees who had taken buyouts, notifying them that severance checks would not be deposited directly into their bank accounts.
The former employees could pick up the checks Friday afternoon at the Register's headquarters or receive them by mail.
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