The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


A costly mistake

$5,000 camera kit stolen from journalism department

Some lessons are learned the hard way, as one journalism student discovered after a piece of school equipment went missing.

Senior Kyle Spencer left a borrowed camera in a journalism classroom Wednesday night only to find the equipment missing when he returned to the location early Thursday morning. When Spencer returned, only the camera’s tripod remained.

“Due to a car accident earlier this week I had no way of transporting the camera home with me, so I left it in the corner of the journalism room knowing that I would be back at school early the next morning to retrieve it,” Spencer said.

Fortunately for Spencer, security cameras at the entrances to Umphrey Lee may have identified who took the camera. Another factor that has helped faculty in their search for identifying who took the camera is the I.D. access installed at both entrances of the journalism school. Only those enrolled in journalism classes and KPNI DJ’s have access to the building, so faculty members were able to narrow down the list from there.

“[The professors] were all very optimistic in the recovery of the equipment,” said Spencer.

While another camera was reported to be missing Thursday as well, it was quickly traced back to another student, and dismissed as a misunderstanding, putting to rest the possibility of another potential theft.

“Well, it strikes me as very premature to say that any cameras have been stolen,” explained Tony Pederson, a professor and the Belo Distinguished Chain in Journalism. “As you know, we are very lenient in our policies and try to make equipment as accessible as possible during all hours. We’ve never lost any cameras that I know of. When equipment has turned up missing in the past, there usually has been a reasonable explanation. I won’t be surprised if the same thing happens this time. We simply don’t know what the facts are now.”

With so many students coming and going through on a daily basis, it can be hard to monitor all the activity going on in the expanding building. With the opening of the new SMU Convergence News Room, students of all concentrations are venturing through the doors of Umphrey Lee.

However, what is a special offer to the journalism students may be being abused by those not associated with the program.

“Being a journalism student is a great privilege because we are like a family,” said Spencer. “We work and have fun with each other and it is an understood rule to respect each other’s property in any organization, especially journalism.”

Because there are only so many cameras to distribute through the entire department, one missing camera can impact an entire class. With finals looming on the horizon and teachers dishing out projects left and right, students from all classes are desperately checking out cameras whenever one becomes available.

With one less camera in circulation, all the students needing to get stories and interviews filmed are being weighed down with one more stressful occurrence. The camera case, which includes a $2,000 video camera, extra batteries, a handheld and wireless microphone and earphones costs the school about $5,000 per case.

“This was a $5,000 learning lesson,” Spencer said. “You would think that a person would not represent the department, the school or themselves in such a deplorable manor by thievery.”

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