Durhamites dying to look at the pathetic mug shots of fellow citizens will want to dash out to a nearby gas station to grab a $1 issue of The Slammer.
The Slammer is a cheaply produced tabloid that is almost entirely composed of the downcast scowls of citizens recently charged with criminal offenses. It's been in business in Charlotte for more than a year, and came to Raleigh last spring.
We bought the inaugural Durham issue in a gas station on Avondale and looked in vain for someone we knew. We also looked very hard for ads: Mostly they were for bail bondsmen, although one nightclub party promoter and a retailer of custom wheels also saw fit to advertise, as did a Greensboro lawyer.
In July, The News and Observer published a piece on this paper and its publisher, Isaac W. Cornetti--who does business under the nom de plume Dash Dangerfield. At the time of the story's publication, The Slammer's circulation was 11,000, and one Raleigh bail bondsman reported paying $700 a month to advertise in it. Reporter Sarah Ovaska also noted Cornetti's own checkered past, which includes prison time. "Anyone can change," Cornetti told Ovaska.
Asked what makes for a good mug shot, Cornetti said, "A good, kooky, shocked, outraged, happy look: some extreme show of emotion. A good hairdo helps."
The one bit of editorial content in The Slammer is a column about the status of the death penalty in North Carolina, which seems to come out against the "barbaric practice of killing people in the name of the government."