Two Alabama newspapers are featuring mug shots in an apparent battle for newsstand sales, reports the Columbia Journalism Review. On June 29, the Anniston Star splayed 10 mug shots of “Calhoun County's MOST WANTED” across page one of an edition provided only for “rack sales.” The front page was “a product of the marketing department of The Anniston Star,” it said in unobtrusively-sized print beneath the The Anniston Star banner.
The Star seems to be in competition with Bama Busted, a 99-cent publication that has appeared in local convenience stores since March, featuring “weirdest mug shots” and “hot girls'” mug shots, and has been drawing advertisers. Bama Busted’s owner, who refused to divulge his name, says his goal is to “help clean up the community” and now sees the Star, circulation 23,000, as a big-footed competitor. The owner said he felt ripped off by the Star's June 29 look-alike “wrap,” claiming Star employees had met with him, talked of a partnership and wanted “to know what we're doing and how we're doing it.”