The Slammer, a North Carolina tabloid that gleefully prints local mug shots and crime reports, is flying off newsstands, and whether it’s helpful or shameful, it’s certainly profitable. “I don’t think (the Slammer) deserves the ‘journalism’ title,” publisher Isaac Cornetti, himself a former jailbird, tells the Christian Science Monitor. But it, and others like it, provide voyeuristic entertainment—and maybe even a public service.
Cornetti hopes the paper can be “the kind of wake-up call that I wish I’d had when I was younger.” But many argue the ridicule the Slammer heaps on not-yet-convicted subjects is unethical—barely a “step up from the stocks,” grumbles the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. But Cornetti says the only complaints he gets are from perps upset they didn’t make the paper.