Editors offer reward for tips after theft of student newspaper

MISSOURI — A student newspaper at a St. Louis university is offering a $250 reward for tips and information leading to the culprits responsible for the alleged theft of their newspaper.

On the morning of March 23, about 1,000 copies of Washington University’s daily paper, Student Life, were taken from newsstands across the campus–a loss that the newspaper estimates could cost $2,500 to $3,000. The total print run of Student Life is 7,000.

Student Life General Manager Andy O’Dell said the newspaper decided to offer a reward because it would offer an incentive for people who witnessed the theft to come forward.

“[The reward] might just sort of spark some interest and make people realize that we’re taking this seriously,” O’Dell said.

Student Life Editor Jonathan Greenberger said the front page story on March 23 was about a sorority formal being shut down because Alpha Phi members were publicly intoxicated at the museum where the formal was being held. However, he said, the newspaper has “nothing concrete to connect the thefts with this particular story.”

Greenberger said the alleged theft was reported to the Washington University Police Department, and for the most part, he said, the school has been supportive of the investigation. Police Lieutenant James Roth told Student Life on March 25 that the department would follow up on any leads or anything they come across, and will then decide whether to pursue it as a criminal matter or refer it to the judicial administrator.

On March 25, Chancellor Mark Wrighton wrote a letter to the editor condemning the theft.

“A free and unfettered press is one of the cornerstones of our great nation,” he wrote. “And it is never acceptable to limit that expression of free speech by any means, especially by the destruction or removal of the publications produced to advance that notion.”

–By Diane Krauthamer