Photo Essay - A Day in the Life of a Newspaper Promoter

For some at the 96th Street subway station, Jamil Turpin is an annoyance they have to tolerate on their daily commute to work.  Jamil is what is know in the business as a ‘Promoter’ - he distributes the daily free newspaper ‘AM New York’

 His quota is to distribute 3200 copies before 11.30am each day.  He’s been on the job for 3 years, and in that time 96th Street has become the busiest location of the 22 subway stations that ‘AM New York’ supplies. His supervisor, James MacNair, says Jamil is by far their best.  

 But Jamil is more than just a ‘Promoter’ - he provides directions, he helps people with subway fares; and on occasion he’ll share his pack of cigarettes.  He’s developed a great rapport with his ‘customers’ - throughout the morning people of all ages, social class and ethnicity routinely stop to ‘fist bump’ him.    

 But not everyone is a fan.  Alonzo Peterkin, a Promoter for the rival ‘Metro’ newspaper says, “Jay is Jay.  He’s in your face.  Some people don’t like that, and they’ll cuss him out”.  

 But Jamil is undeterred - even if you don’t take his newspaper, he’ll still wish you a good day.  He estimates that only 5% of people take his newspaper.  And while he tries not to take it personally, he confesses that some days it’s hard to deal with all the rejection.

Sandra Chuma