First Amendment violated by trashing student press

Carly Yamrus, Senior Editor

It has been brought to our attention that freedoms of the press and first amendment have both been violated here at Wilkes University.

Last week, Volume 67 Issue 16 of the Wilkes Beacon suspiciously disappeared from several newspaper stands around campus. This occurrence took place just before VIP Day last Saturday; an exclusive annual event intended to help accepted high school students become more familiar with the Wilkes campus.

Issue 16 of The Beacon contained a news article that described a drop in test scores on the national nursing licensing exam, which prompted a necessary plan of action to help the nursing school increase their pass rate for first time undergraduate test takers.

While it is not definite that this story was the reason for the paper’s disappearance, no other news was “controversial” enough to cause suspicion.

This newsworthy story seemed to have angered some unidentified individuals who made a quick attempt to sweep the story away by throwing away the newspapers, which were later found by the stacks in trash cans.

It is estimated that around 20 percent of the Beacons were thrown away.

Beacon front-webPrinting bundles for distribution costs $985 a week, making the monetary loss of last weeks newspapers around 197 of student media dollars.

What most people do not know is that newspapers hold value, even if they are considered to be “free.”

Technically speaking, only the first copy of a free newspaper is actually free.

A monetary amount is placed on any subsequent copies in order to uphold the value of news against newspaper theft.

Although some people may be angered by certain stories that are published within a paper’s pages, it is the duty and obligation of journalists to report all of the news, positive or negative.

Attempting to remove the story by eliminating the news source entirely could make matters worse, and may bring even more attention to the story after word gets around that papers went missing after a controversial topic was published.

Trashing newspapers that hold negative news is unlawful censorship and violates the freedoms of all readers by preventing the dissemination of information.

Newspaper theft is responsible for the loss of thousands of student media dollars each year across the country.

It is not only unfair to the readers and student journalists who puts countless hours into production each week, but also to the businesses who paid to have their ads and coupons placed in the paper, never to be read.

Many readers may find the stealing of a “free” newspaper to be a trivial matter.

Some do not realize the absolutely vital role that a free press plays in the sustenance of a democracy in which information flows freely and citizens have the right to know the good, the bad, the ugly, the right, the wrong, and everything else that happens to fall between the extremes.

It is your right to read the news, and it is your right not to read the news.

But it is not your right to interfere with the rights of others by depriving them of their own property.