In 2006 at around 4 am, a man appears at the door of a security booth in Downtown Los Angeles. He slowly opens the door, being careful not to be noticed. He grabs the key attached to a small crowbar hanging by the door, then slowly heads back to his truck. 45 minutes later, he comes back the same way and drops the key off then leaves the premises.
I say around 4am because I’m afraid I usually dose off at that time. I used to work as a security guard at the Bunker Hills twin towers in Downtown. The only reason I know that the man had come by, is because he drops a warm copy of the Los Angeles Times in a blue plastic wrapping on my lap before he leaves.
Sometimes I am awake when he comes by and I give him the key myself. Other times, he stays in the truck and his son, an 8 year old boy, comes in to get the key. Other times, I wake up in shock when I see a short woman, his wife, trying the unhinge the key from the artisanal hook it is hanging from. They have a younger daughter but she is usually asleep in the back seat when the little family comes to my apartment building.
Once they have the key to the gate, they get into the building and drop a copy of the LA Times at the doorstep of each subscriber. It’s tedious work to deliver paper all over two 18 story buildings. I always wondered, but never dared to ask, how much they got paid for the job. In 2006, a newspaper cost 50 cents.
Today, I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this article less than a mile away from the Los Angeles Times headquarter. I’m here because I remembered the small stand by the wall, between the power outlet that fed the wireless chargers and the community board. On the stand, you could grab a copy of the LA times. I wanted to know how much it cost. But, the stand is gone. Not replaced by anything else. It simply vanished. The printed newspaper industry is close to dead….[ ]