Viewpoint: Stealing papers is stealing dreams

By Linda Wilkins

Who would’ve thought that stealing a pile of newspapers would be a bad thing?

Some people would say, “Hey, you’ve got a hankering for learning about the world!”

Others would say, “You’ve got a problem.”

Imagine my surprise when I walked toward the Lariat newsroom Wednesday and discovered an empty ledge where all of our newspapers from this year should be sitting.

My emotions: shock, disbelief, and confusion. I’ll admit, I initially laughed a little bit because I thought it was a joke until I realized what we’d actually lost.

Now, I’m not talking a measly pile of bad quality paper. I’m talking hundreds of quality stories that were jacked Tuesday night.

These newspapers contained hundreds of stories from this year written by at least 20 different hard-working reporters, staff writers and editors. We no longer have the hard copies for any of this semester’s past papers.

Some of you might not think this is so terrible. It may seem harmless—who cares about campus news right?

It’s also a crime to steal an entire stack of newspapers.

Advertisers pay quite a bit of money to have their ads in our paper for a very specific amount of time and they lose money if their papers aren’t on the stands.

Not only that, but it’s rude and inconvenient. Did I mention rude?

Reporters who write for the Lariat do not get paid; they receive a grade. In addition, the reporters rely on these newspapers for their clips. They can make a portfolio and possibly get a job for their well-written stories.

The same goes for everyone who works at the Lariat.

Now, they have to rely on the sketchy-looking online version of their stories. How bogus is that?

Also, Lariat staff and reporters can win awards for the work they do. We need real copies of the newspaper for that.

However, what could possibly motivate people to steal hundreds of newspapers?

The question I have is: Who could it be and why?

I’ll admit, my first guess was the Noze Brothers. I thought it could be a prank or something. Their references to Lariat articles in The Rope are interesting and even funny at best. I’d like to think we have a friendly rivalry. Of course, the Lariat hasn’t taken any copies of The Rope as far as I know.

Then, we considered that some people might need filler for their homecoming floats. This is the most logical conclusion, but even then, theft is theft. I’ve never made a homecoming float, so I don’t know the reason behind it. Maybe some poor desperate soul was in a time crunch to find hundreds of newspapers quickly. Maybe they’d scoured all of Waco and Baylor campus only to settle on stealing Lariats.

The scariest and weirdest thing would be if no one had any reason at all. They only dashed the hopes and dreams of the Lariat’s journalists because they could.

If you stole our papers, I ask you — I implore you — to return them soon. We need them. The poor reporters need them. As far as I’m concerned, your need is not as great as ours.

Linda Wilkins is a sophomore journalism major from Tyrone, Ga. She is the assistant city editor for the Baylor Lariat.