Mug Shots Are Cheap Thrills for Media, Readers

Print, web outlets get booking photos free, and find lots of fans
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 1:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Print and web publishers are cashing in a curious American obsession: mug shots. Not just celebrities, whose how-the-mighty-have-fallen appeal is obvious, but pictures of regular folk arrested for pederasty, assault or simply loitering. Web editions of Newsday and the Palm Beach Post, for example, run sections of nothing but booking photos that attract several thousands of clicks a day, CNN reports.

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Convenience-store print like Florida’s Local MugSHOTS also have found success printing nothing other than photos and brief descriptions of local miscreants. MugSHOTS’ publisher says it provides a community service by running fugitive and sex-offender photos. But the majority of those photographed have already been arrested, and the publications often provide little to no details beyond the charge. Public service, or pure voyeurism? (Read more schadenfreude stories.)

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