Northwest Minnesota newspaper publishers waiting for answers after unread papers were found in recycling bin

Roseau Times-Region Publisher Jodi Wojciechowski published a photo and an editorial about the ongoing delivery issues on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Roseau Times newspapers.jpeg
A photo submitted to the Roseau Times-Region by a subscriber allegedly shows newspapers dumped in a recycling bin.
Contributed / Roseau Times-Region

ROSEAU, Minn. – After learning that papers had routinely been delivered late on a rural mail route in Roseau, Northland Trading Post Publisher Kathy Krause took delivery of the Monday, Jan. 30, edition of the shopper newspaper into her own hands.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on,” she said. “I had all of these routes written up from years ago, so I had information of how and where to deliver papers myself."

Before a recent downsizing that required the Northland Trading Post to outsource delivery to the U.S. Postal Service, the newspaper hired its own couriers. Krause used those routes to deliver the 342 papers on the 120-mile, five-hours-long delivery route.

Though she had received calls for the last few months about the Northland Trading Post being delivered late or not showing up, Krause said the scope of the issue was not clear to her until a Roseau Times-Region subscriber sent her and other newspaper publishers in the region a photo of dozens of bundles of newspapers in a recycling bin.

Roseau Times-Region Publisher Jodi Wojciechowski published the photo and an editorial about the ongoing delivery issues on Wednesday, Jan. 25. In the editorial, she claims the Roseau Times-Region, Northland Trading Post and Northern Watch have been affected.


The person who sent the photo — Wojciechowski says the reader wishes to remain anonymous — witnessed a driver throwing unopened bundles of paper into a recycling bin.

“It was a subscriber that just happened to be at the recycling bins the same time as the mail carrier was,” said Wojciechowski.

Wojciechowski said the Roseau Times-Region has been receiving complaints for the last six to eight months about delayed delivery or newspapers not being delivered at all. Recently, the number has been too many to count, she said.

“It’s gotten just terrible,” said Wojciechowski. “Normally it would be a few here or there.”

For Wojciechowski and Krause, the issues have consistently been on one specific rural route. Wojciechowski said she was told by post office employees that a driver on the route did not regularly work Saturdays, as scheduled.

Both Wojciechowski and Krause have been told the U.S. Postal Service is investigating the incident after it was provided with the photo of papers in the recycling bin.

Bryce Harp, the officer in charge at the Roseau Post Office, declined to answer questions and referred the Herald to USPS Corporate Communications. Spokesperson Desai Abdul-Razzaaq referred the Herald to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which referred the Herald to the USPS Office of Inspector General. The USPS OIG is an independent agency within the USPS that investigates mail delivery concerns involving USPS employees.

USPS OIG spokesperson Kevin Cloninger declined to confirm whether an investigation has been launched.


“As a matter of standard USPS OIG protocol, the USPS OIG does not confirm or refute information related to possible ongoing USPS OIG investigations, except in matters where details of the investigation become a matter of public record,” he said in an email statement to the Herald on Tuesday.

For newspapers, late deliveries put their reputations at stake, said Krause.

“When my customers aren’t getting things that they're paying me to do, it’s my reputation and I feel accountable to them,” she said. “I feel that I’m a customer to the post office as well, and they should be accountable to me.”

The Northland Trading Post mails 82% of the 8,500 papers it sends out and spent more than $64,000 on postage last year, she said.

Subscribers not receiving papers is only part of the problem, said Wojciechowski.

“It’s not like a paper takes two seconds to put together — it’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of money, whether it's the printing and the publishing for us,” said Wojciechowski. “Advertisers are losing money — it’s a whole chain reaction of stuff.”

For now, Krause plans to resume mailing the Northland Trading Post after she was told that the USPS has lined up drivers for the route through mid-February. But, she is left wondering why the Postal Service did not take action sooner.

“If you’re getting lots of complaints on one particular route, something should be done, rather than, here, nothing was really done until there was an actual picture to prove it,” Krause said. “I think that there’s got to be some proof in people with their complaining too. Our word should be worth something.”

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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