• U.S.

A Letter From The Publisher, Oct. 15, 1951

3 minute read

Each week thousands of railroadmen, truck drivers and pilots are at their jobs around the clock to speed TIME to a newsstand conveniently near you. Recently, we asked one of our Midwest correspondents to interview one of them—a St. Louis truck driver—to give us a closer look at one of the many people who handle newsstand copies of TIME in transit. He was 48-year-old John Deibel, a senior highway pilot for the Consolidated Forwarding Co. If your copy of TIME this week came from a newsstand in the St. Louis area, it was hauled from Chicago by Deibel.

On Wednesday afternoon, Deibel jockeyed his shiny orange tractor #684 against the big trailer at Consolidated’s Chicago transfer garage. He motioned toward the trailer loaded with 2,350 copies of TIME.

Explained Deibel: “When I come in they say, ‘Get going, Johnny, you got the magazines.’ That means, ‘Keep pushing it along, Johnny, and don’t stop to beat your gums on the road.’ “

There is good reason for the professional pride which shows through Deibel’s curt shop talk. He wears a red C.F.C. badge above his visor for his twelve-year safety record. He’s proud too (but wears no badge for it) of his regular, five-year-long assignment to haul TIME. TIME’s schedules are known to be so tough that 48 trucking companies from coast to coast use their TIME contracts to get other fast-delivery business.

Out of Chicago, Deibel’s first stop was at Chenoa, Ill. at Steve’s Cafe. “Best steaks on Route 66,” he claims, with the truck driver’s air of finality about such matters. There he had time for his meal, no time for trivial talk. A short distance behind him rolled another Consolidated truck, with a “straight load”—goods without such a demanding time schedule. If #684 were to break down, they would switch trailers and the other driver would haul TIME to St. Louis. It hasn’t happened yet.

Behind Johnny and the whole system are other precautions which backstop the delivery of TIME. Each issue is printed in plants in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris, Honolulu, Tokyo and Havana (where we just recently began printing the Latin American Edition). If deliveries from one printing point are endangered, other points can come to the rescue. And, of course, copies can be shifted back & forth among newsstands and local distributing centers. In emergencies, extra copies have been flown to disaster points to avoid delays in delivery. When virtually all forms of land transport were bogged down by the July floods of the Kansas River, copies were rerouted around the flood area by an ingenious truck and train system—and got to subscribers and newsstands with minimum delay.

While Driver Deibel was on the road, 127 other trucks were hauling other newsstand copies of the U.S. Edition. More than half, however, of the total newsstand supply were delivered by Railway Express, frequently using crack passenger trains. Meanwhile, a few thousand newsstand copies were being flown to posts in Canada and Alaska and pilots were flying copies of the Latin American, Atlantic or Pacific Editions to six continents and over five seas to all the far-flung places where TIME is read.

Cordially yours,

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