The editor of the North Dakota State University student newspaper has filed a police report saying 4,500 issues disappeared.
The issue of The Spectrum contained a special section that listed salaries of all NDSU employees. It also included a news story on a campus skit in which a white student in blackface portrayed presidential candidate Barack Obama receiving a lap dance. The skit received national attention and prompted University President Joe Chapman to put out a statement condemning it.
Spectrum Editor Stephen Baird said he does not know if the newspapers were stolen after they were distributed late Thursday but that he finds it hard to believe readers would have snagged them all in one night. He said issues from even the typically low-circulation areas vanished.
?We put a lot of time and effort into getting the issue produced,? opinion editor Steve Boss said. ?I hate to see it not in the students? hands.?
The Spectrum prints 7,000 copies of each issue and distributes 4,500 the first night. Editors spent Friday distributing the remaining 2,500 issues around campus.
Joe Heilman, a candidate for student body president, said he saw people with Friday?s Spectrum all over campus.
?The minute it went out I heard about it,? he said. ?It got attention.?
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said he hears reports of college newspapers being stolen several times a month. He said it usually happens around student election time, especially if there is a candidate endorsement.
The Spectrum?s front page profiled the four tickets vying to lead NDSU?s student government. The story did not favor any of the candidates, and Heilman said he doubts that if someone took the newspapers they did so because of the election material.
Jack McDonald, attorney for the North Dakota Newspaper Association, said taking the newspapers would be a crime even though they are free.
?You are stealing a business product because there?s advertising being sold for those papers,? McDonald said. ?The contracts indicate the papers will be distributed.?