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.”