(I have calls in to the Star’s VP of Operations—who spearheaded, I’m told, the “MOST WANTED” “product” — to find out more, including how Bama Busted factored in to this; if/how editorial was consulted on it; and, of course, whether mug shots did anything for the Star’s lagging Monday circulation. Will update when I hear back).
UPDATE: More background, after speaking to the person who oversaw the MOST WANTED “product,” the Star’s Robert Jackson. Bama Busted was indeed the inspiration for it. “[Bama Busted] did our readership survey for us,” Jackson said, noting he “watched it selling like hotcakes” while “charging two times what the Star charges,” and determined the Star should try offering a “mug shot-driven” product. (Jackson confirms he met with someone at Bama Busted but says there was no partnership talk, just talk of a “commercial printing project;” Consolidated Publishing, which owns the Star, does assorted outside print jobs).
The primary goal of the MOST WANTED wrap (a new version of which appeared in all Star editions yesterday, this time as a four-page insert), Jackson said, was to “drive the Star’s Monday single copy sales” (he’ll know by tomorrow whether that happened).
Jackson chuckled when asked about the wrap possibly rankling people inside or outside the Star newsroom, saying he “respects” the editorial side but that “with declining circulation sometimes you’ve got to try different things.” Jackson said he “did receive the publisher’s permission to do” the wrap and that he consulted with a top editor, though “editorial was more interested” in something that did not include photos. Jackson sees a “big difference between what we did and what [Bama Busted] does,” in that “they include sensational stuff, we include just public data, as a public service” for which the area police departments, he said, have been “very grateful.”