A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Journalism Education In-Brief

By Quill

Former student editor indicted in $50,000 theft

The former editor in chief of the student newspaper at William Paterson University in New Jersey has been indicted for allegedly stealing $50,000 in advertising revenue, including an unauthorized trip he took to Amsterdam for a tongue-in-cheek story about prostitution, according to the Bergen (N.J.) Record.

Ryan Caiazzo, 24, used most of the money for The Beacon newspaper, but managers would never have approved some expenditures, said John A. Snowdon, Passaic County chief assistant prosecutor.

Snowdon said Caiazzo spent about $40,000 on new computers, office furniture, and “people he took out to dinner.”

Caiazzo allegedly spent about $10,000 on himself, including food and clothing, as well as the $3,000 Amsterdam trip, according to a Passaic County grand jury indictment.

The alleged thefts were uncovered in February 2001 when a check from the illicit independent account wound up mistakenly on the desk of a university official, Snowdon said.

“He was spending a semester in England and decided to take a side trip to Amsterdam,” said Snowdon, adding that the newspaper article included Caiazzo’s attempts to pay prostitutes for interviews.

Snowdon said the newspaper, which usually supports itself through advertising revenue, would end up with a $10,000 loss for the year.

Students admit stealing college newspapers

At least three University of North Florida students have admitted responsibility in the disappearance of more than 1,600 copies of the weekly student newspaper in April, the paper’s editor said.

David Johnson, editor in chief of The Spinnaker, said three students came to his campus office and admitted taking the papers because they were unhappy with one of the articles.

The article, which appeared in the sports section, reported that one athlete ran in place of another at a recent track meet. The story ran under the headline “Coach pencils in non-qualified runner at meet.”

“They said they wanted to apologize, that they were sorry,” Johnson said.

It was unclear if more than three students were involved in taking the papers, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union reported.

Two thousand copies of The Spinnaker were distributed April 3 to more than 20 racks throughout the UNF campus in Jacksonville. The following morning, editors noticed the missing papers and notified campus police.

Although the papers are distributed free, production costs for the 1,600 missing copies totaled $1,500, Johnson said. An additional $885 was spent to print 1,000 more copies for distribution, he added.

UNF officials said the matter has been referred to the school’s internal student discipline system, but they declined to comment on the case, citing federal student privacy laws. Punishments range from a letter of reprimand to suspension or expulsion from the university.

KOMU-TV policy cited in proposed cuts
The Missouri House, unhappy with a KOMU/TV8 policy in early April, decided to slash the station’s budget by $500,000. However, the state Senate restored the funding to the University of Missouri’s NBC affiliate in Columbia.

During final House debate on the Higher Education Budget, legislators adopted an amendment cutting the station’s budget after learning that KOMU news director Stacey Woelfel implemented a policy forbidding reporters from wearing red, white and blue ribbons or flags while working for the newsroom.

The issue has been one of controversy ever since the policy was made public following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the (Columbia) Digital Missourian reported.

Some legislators said the policy was an attack on students’ First Amendment rights and questioned Woelfel’s political motivations.

Prior to the KOMU debate, legislators lashed out at individual university employees on both the Kansas City and St. Louis campuses and aimed additional cutbacks at them.

Although the Senate restored more than $500,000 in House cuts directed at KOMU, an amendment offered by Republican state Sen. John Loudon upheld a $100,000 cut to the UM system previously approved by the House.

A joint conference committee was meeting in May to reconcile the nearly $260 million difference between the House and Senate budgets, according to Missouri Digital News.