Longtime R-J carriers highlighted as newspaper celebrates 150th anniversary

Longtime R-J carriers highlighted as newspaper celebrates 150th anniversary


Chris Digioia remembers a dark morning in Wallingford when he turned a corner and a deer sailed over his car.

“It almost made it but it hit the hood, took a triple flip, got up looked at me and it took off,” said Digioia, of Meriden.

In his nearly 40 years of delivering for the Record-Journal and other publications, Digioia hasn’t taken a planned day off.

“There have been numerous wildlife incidents,” he said about his years as a carrier.

As the newspaper marks its 150th anniversary, Digioia and another longtime R-J carrier talked about their passion for the job.

Digioia began delivering the New Haven Register in the 1980s, and the Record-Journal in the 1990s. He delivered a number of routes for the New Haven Register, the Hartford Courant, Barrons Financial, and more.

Today, it’s just the Record-Journal, and he has seen his route list swell to 200 papers a day to homes in Wallingford and Meriden. Digioia also works at the Record-Journal depot on Colony Street where he handles paperwork for motor route drivers every morning.

“It’s nice, it’s relaxing,” Digioia said. “There is no pressure. The thing about delivering papers is it’s everyday. I’ve never had a day off over the years. I just can’t leave it. I feel like I have to keep doing things. If I went somewhere for two weeks it would be harder to get that back.”

Good customer service is important to Digioia. He delivers in rain, sleet, and snow and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

“I’ll do it every day until they drag me out,” he said. “I hope it never ends.”

Jim Ryan of Wallingford inherited his newspaper route from his children and has stuck with it for more than 14 years. Delivering papers remains a family affair.

As a delivery driver for Fedex, he helped his daughter Jaymie when she asked to deliver papers. It was passed down to sister Tara, then, son J.D, and finally Tyler, who still does the route with his father every morning.

“I’ve been the driver and they help or else I do it myself,” Ryan said.

He started at 40 papers and is now at about 90 a day, driving about 17 miles every morning before going to his next job.

“The biggest thing is customer service,” Ryan said. “It was always one of the top priorities. You take care of your customers, they take care of you.”

Many of his customers are getting older and he takes care to deliver where it’s easy for them to access the paper.

“The old timers have moved on or passed away,” Ryan said. “You just can’t drop it into their sidewalk. You put it in the door where they want it. People know when I’m on vacation. If they don’t get the paper in the same spot, they call in.”

mgodin@record-journal.com (203) 317-2255 Twitter: @Cconnbiz

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