Somewhere around 2010 the American mugshot shame rag industry was pioneered by individuals with zero background in journalism. In order to justify shamelessly humiliating members of the community for profit on a biweekly basis, publishers must continue to market their products as “crime-fighting” “public services.”
There will always be those who will do or say anything to make a buck, but for anyone who would presume to call themselves a journalist while at the same time copycatting this ill-conceived business model is more than a disappointment –they are a disgrace to the profession. Undermining the notion of civic duty and making a mockery of due process is probably not what forefathers envisioned when they guaranteed freedom of the press in the constitution. Let’s face it, even someone who would spend money on one of those tabloids is probably aware enough to know that it is nothing more than voyeuristic garbage.
The best thing any citizen can do in order to disrupt a fledgling local mugshot mag is to speak to those who retail the publication. Going after the advertisers is a waste of time because they will just ignore you. However, the corner store where you get your coffee in the morning and know the people who work there will listen. If these shame rags rub you the wrong way, then say something about it. If you don’t want these things in your communities then speak up. Retailers refusing to stock these publications will diminish circulation and eventually drive down the value of ad space. If profit disappears so will these tabloids. Do you think these publishers are so committed to community service that they will reach into their own pockets and keep things operating? I don’t.
This memo is a few years old but outlines useful tactics for combating this form of public disservice:
And Remember Folks… “Don’t Get Arrested”