Stealing papers is immature action

Thomas Corhern is the assistant sports editor for The Herald-Citizen and a former editor for The Oracle.Last week, a majority of the copies of this paper were stolen.

It reminds me of an incident in Spring 2001, when I was just a freshman at the University.

That entire week, I had worked hard tracking down research and conducting interviews about the closing of the Varsity Twin theatre, which at that time was a campus landmark before becoming the current offices for MMA Creative.

That story was my first feature story, of what has now become a long line of features. I was very proud of that story then, and still am.

However, that same week, assistant editorial editor Denny Fry wrote an editorial piece about a student falling off a bicycle. Yes, it was humorous, but it could have also been seen as cruel and embarrassing.

I was fortunate to grab a copy of that paper early that Friday. Later that evening, every copy of the paper was stolen. The victim of Fry’s joke wasn’t too pleased.

My point is this – while there may have been one article in there that may have offended a student or group, there’s still other things of merit in the paper that won’t be seen because of that act.

The Oracle may just look like a classroom assignment to most outsiders, but it’s much more than that.

To the journalism students at this university, it’s a job. It’s a chance to hone their skills before entering the real world.

But under the surface, it’s even more. I made many lifelong friends working up there on the third floor of the RUC, but with it came long hours of work, a lot of dedication and a tremendous amount of patience.

Many of my friends and classmates are working all around the country in the newspaper field, in television and many other endeavors, and just like any organization on campus, we were a family.

Did I open myself to a lot of criticism with the job? Heck, yeah. It comes with the territory, especially when your name and photo is right next to the article.

But you have to learn how to take criticism the right way. I admit, I might get a little angry now and then, but you learn to let it roll off your back.

That’s just one of the life lessons you learn in college. It’s much more than just cracking open the books and taking classes. It’s about being part of a community.

The act of stealing the papers was immature, plain and simple.

What came of it? A moment of satisfaction? For a comment that most likely would have been forgotten in a week or two?

There are always better solutions. If you’re angry, write a letter to the editor. Show some diplomacy and make your case. After all, that’s what an editorial page is for.

Being the better man is much more impressive than gangland-style tactics any day of the week.

The paper itself may be free as a single copy to the students, but there is a lot of money involved with its organization. From the advertisers who hawk their wares on its pages, to the salaries its editors are paid to oversee the production, to my employer – the Herald-Citizen – who prints the paper. Then there’s the time and effort from the staff writers to produce the copy.

When the final tally is complete, one issue’s press run isn’t cheap, and the culprits have effectively stolen from all of them, including you, the reader, who didn’t get to see the final product.

As a Tech alumnus, I find the act disgraceful. As a former Oracle editor, I find it atrocious.

It’s all about dealing with criticism. You find the right outlet and let it go.

The damage, however, is done. There’s still time for the guilty parties to save some face after this act. Now, it’s time for those who stole the papers to be the bigger men.