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San Francisco Newspaper Brings Back Bicycle Delivery

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- In the Bay Area it seems there are a thousand different sources providing news -- and almost that many different devices to receive it with.

But, perhaps surprisingly, there's still such a thing as a printed newspaper and one publisher is even planning to deliver those papers the old-fashioned way, via "paper boys" riding bicycles.

Michael Stoll, executive director of San Francisco Public Press, says the idea of bicycle delivery in a light-speed media landscape had plenty of naysayers.

"[They said] a print publication delivered so slowly on a bike is really just a throwback and nostalgia. It's not really going to amount to anything," Stoll told KPIX 5.

But Stoll wasn't afraid of the challenge. He turned away from a a commercial newspaper career to launch this non-profit newspaper in 2009.

Its mission: to dig up untold stories. He hired a team of freelance reporters who interact with readers from story pitch to publishing.

"At the Public Press we really love to engage them right from the start of the story -- tell them what we're up to, tell them what we're working on and bring them into all our plans," explained Lyndal Cairns.

So, to reach more readers, it seems bicycle delivery is the next step. In six months Public Press plans to double its distribution. "It's the return of the paper boy. It's newsies redux," Stoll says.

Publisher Lila LaHood thinks the delivery mechanism is right for the city.

"There's such a strong bike culture in San Francisco. People love bikes, people use their bikes for more and more purposes these days," she said.

To use bikes for delivery, the San Francisco Public Press needed money so they turned to Kickstarter, where the idea quickly picked up speed. They've already blown past their $10,000 fundraising goal, proving not only that some people still prefer their news on paper but that they also like those papers delivered on two wheels.

"It was the most out-of-the-box, so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea," Stoll says.

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