The Wall Street Journal Puts a WSJ Thief in His Place

Social Media Stunt 'Rewards' Journal Readers, Good and Bad

Published On
Mar 24, 2015

Editor's Pick

The&Partnership recently launched a new brand campaign for The Wall Street Journal featuring celebrities who slip away from their hectic work days to make time to read the publication. Now, they're capitalizing on a more low profile, yet no less avid WSJ reader who recently took matters into his own hands after a neighborhood thief kept swiping his morning read -- for ten straight years.

After he finally had enough, Berkeley, California-based photographer Richard Nagler posted a very polite and exquisitely written note to the newspaper swiper on his fence. "To the Berkeley man who has been taking my Wall Street Journal so many times over so many years: We recently installed a video surveillance system around the building and we have a very nice image of you taking the newspaper yesterday March 12th at 7:32:08 AM at 2019 Blake Street," the letter begins. Mr. Nagler goes on to offer the thief the chance to "borrow" the paper every day, as long as he returns it that morning. The letter then implies that should he take the paper again, he initiates a contract to return it. What happens if he doesn't? Well, seems the paper pilferer didn't want to find out since he stopped stealing it.

The Wall Street Journal and The&Partnership got wind of this exchange and wanted to "reward" both readers' "loyalty." They posted a note from Editor in Chief Gerard Baker on the same fence to Mr. Nagler, saying that the Wall Street Journal would be giving him a free iPad and digital subscription to the Journal, so he wouldn't have to worry about losing his paper, ever again.

And to the thief, they posted a letter saying there was an "easier -- and legal" way to get the paper -- via a special subscription offer at, which will give him the opportunity to get the Journal in both digital and hardcopy formats for $12 for 12 weeks. It's the "same great offer everyone gets," but the snatcher gets his own special url.

Mr. Baker just tweeted about the stunt, which was covered by the local paper that originally wrote about the theft, Berkeleyside.