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The Forum gets ‘trashed’

Submitted by Jennifer Ellis on April 8, 2012 – 12:15 pm3 Comments
More than 1,000 newspapers were stolen from newsstands in the DSC and Stabler Hall on March 14 and 15. Photo by Jennifer Ellis

More than 1,000 newspapers were stolen from newsstands in the DSC and Stabler Hall on March 14 and 15. Photo by Jennifer Ellis

UALR police plan to view video camera footage to try to identify the person or people responsible for the theft of about 1,000 copies of The Forum from newsstands in the Donaghey Student Center between March 14 and 15, according to a detective.

“When I put 300 papers on the rack outside of the aquatic center, they usually last three to four days. This time they were all gone within a matter of hours. And we know they weren’t being read because they were found in a nearby trash can,” said Ricky Harris, The Forum’s news editor and distribution manager.

The stolen newspapers are were about 40 percent of The Forum’s circulation and the value of the printing and editorial costs were about $1,250.

According to the Student Press Law Center website “Newspaper theft is a crime. It is also a terribly effective form of censorship. Each year dozens of student newspapers and other publications across the country fall victim to thieves whose intent is to prevent the dissemination of news, information and opinion with which they disagree.”

The Forum’s adviser Carlton “Sonny” Rhodes said, “Such vandalism is highly unfortunate and I trust that the Department of Public Safety will conduct a thorough investigation. Looking on the bright side, I guess it shows that The Forum is doing its job.”

Witnesses to the theft can contact the UALR Department of Public Safety at 501-569-3400 and refer to incident 12-00321.


  • Josh says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I agree that newspaper theft is a crime. It is so unacceptable yet trivial.

  • Ana Abriana says:

    perpetrators must be around the campus. possibly associated with the coverage of the newspaper.

  • Smith II says:

    Dear Editor,
    I’ve been reading a couple issues of Forum and it has caught my attention that the news section of your paper doesn’t quite fit in with the expected look of a professional paper. What I mean is that after taking a look at a Arkansas paper in the past I found that the News sections ranges from only U.S. news on Presidential elections to world known actors and singers OD-ing to U.S government affiliations with other world governments. Not too much further than those boundaries. Why should our paper be any different? In a public paper I expect to find something professionally appropriate (within the terms of newsworthy events ,organized ,and important for the reader to know ). An example of this could be the infamous “global warming” opinion or a disaster committed within the region.
    The point I am trying to get across is that an News section is not place to fill up space with random stories or pictures. If you want a space filler section/expansion of the paper take those random stories and start a new section of the paper called “How Random?” , but stick with a few politically debatable and/or influential stories that a reader can think to himself or herself and conflict within themselves on how or if a certain side of the debate will have an impact on their lives. We need stories in The Forum that will cause the reader to sit back and think “How will this decision affect my life? My thoughts? My opinions? My moral standings?”. Lately I haven’t seen any of these.
    The April 4th edition was a prime example of what not to do for a printed edition of a public paper. Some advertisements and pictures in articles took up nearly half of the page’s space meant for a full juicy story. In essence, the paper should not be a picture book. A way to solve this dilemma is to either find a longer story that would require your journalist majors to venture off campus into the community or make up an entire page strictly for the use of advertisements and pictures. However presenting a full size paper with the illusion of many interesting stories then opening it to reveal nothing but oversized pictures of pill bottles, a cinema called The Artist, and a announcement of rescheduling a fashion show (all referring to the April 4th ed.) is much like opening a bag of Spicy Doritos only to find a third of the bag is present.
    Going back to the remark I made earlier about “juicy” and “interesting” stories, anyone can waltz into the Diamond Cafe and notice people using reusable containers and mugs. We have the UALR website homepage that update us, the readers, on recent small changes and we can also notice a sudden change in tuition costs and ask an administrator about it. The story behind these seems more like an update. Most of the paper edition of the Forum actually seems like a news update excluding the Opinion section and advertisements. What we need as a reader is a hot story that nobody could explain and nobody would have access to, but the media. You get the story and we, the readers, would have to read our paper to get the entire truth. Do this and the result would end up being more Forum papers being read and a much more interesting, skillfully written profession paper at that.
    The overall purpose of a News section is to grasp the audience’s attention with a incredible story. Now it’s up to the editor to strictly limit what defines a story as truly newsworthy and what’s space filler.