Star Search: Frink Alert; Dallas Shuts Down Its Version of INK Magazine

One journalist’s nightmare can be another’s dream-come-true…

Take the ongoing battle for survival between Ink and venerable local alt weekly the Pitch. Light as Ink‘s content’s been (and continues to be), the Pitch has been having the rougher go. It was, until very recently, for sale for years by its now-former out-of-town owner. Its longtime editor bailed for the paycheck-friendly seas of the healthcare industry. Its top journo took a powder this past spring. Its page and ad counts are at levels that caused its former owner to audibly wince.

Then there’s Ink….

It’s hard to imagine the content of the weekly Tony likes to refer to as an "ad rag," being any more inconsequential. Outside of its ads, of course – and there is something to be said for that. But now that the Pitch is cleaning up its act under new owners a possible new variable has reared its head.

Might Ink‘s parent, the Kansas City Star close it down?

At first blush that might appear unthinkable. Think again…

Last week the Dallas Morning News announced it was killing off its entertainment tabloid Quick.

The similarities between Quick and Ink are many. The two entertainment weeklies were born in 2008 with similar missions. Reach out to younger, hipper readers and lose the geezers from the daily. Quick started as a "quick take" daily paper in 2003 before getting Frinked in 2008.

It’s no small fry either. With 90,000 copies a week, Quick has about the same footprint as Ink and the Pitch combined.

"We could not attract enough revenue to match up to the expense of the business model we had to make it sustainably profitable," said a company spokesman, adding that Quick had been a break even proposition the last three years. The extent to which – if any – Ink is bottom line profitable remains an unknown.

Serving to remind, when it comes to print publications, it’s a jungle out there.
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13 Responses to Star Search: Frink Alert; Dallas Shuts Down Its Version of INK Magazine

  1. tableshotz says:

    the dallas zoo shaved its pandas; maybe the KC zoo will, too. Great story, hearne. thanks for the in-depth reporting.

  2. harley says:

    nice story
    I’ll bet you’re licking your chops….foaming at the mouth….fantasizing about the day the
    star shuts down “ink”…’re just waiting to pounce on the people on grand for trying
    to do a paper…you’re just hoping it happens so you’ll have something imporktant
    to write about and about something few people care about.
    You’re sitting writing this piece rubbing your hands together thinking “great….i can write
    another stupid story about the star…about how all the mistakes they made…including
    firinig me”
    Only problem is that if it does (which i hope it doesn’t) shut down ink people lose jobs..
    incomes…lives are affecrted….people are hurt… suffer….but you don’t give a shit
    cause you hate all those people .

  3. 1% Fact, 99% speculation says:

    Hearne has a cold. Therefore, he’s dying. Yup, it’s official. He’ll be dead any day now.

    Oh, sorry, I was just following the logic used in this story.

    Also, Dallas has a real alternative weekly that is thriving, but I guess you left that part out.

  4. Not off base says:

    Hearne could be right
    I read an article that ‘faux’ weeklies (weeklies without real content put out by the daily paper as a way of trying to make ad revenue) are dying across the country, not just in Dallas. @ 1% Fact, Dallas does have a weekly that is thriving but as Hearne pointed out, it’s the faux weekly that is shutting down, not the long time Dallas Observer that is owned by Village Voice (I used to live in Dallas and loved the Observer.) I’m not a fan of Hearne’s Star bashing but I quit picking up INK a while ago after they had a cover story about what type of ice cream local firemen love or something like that. It’s just awful. I don’t want to see INK shut down and I don’t want to see people lose their jobs, but if they want to make it I would sure hope that they’d start putting some quality content in there.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    Uh, thanks. Guess you aren’t following the state of print journalism. You could be onto something though with that Panda shaving theory

  6. Hearne says:

    Look guys, these are difficult times
    Ink was an experiment. Actually cloned from Des Moines, Iowa. Not much in the way of content, but on the surface it looks to have taken a toll on KC’s established entertainment and alternative weekly.

    The print proposition is a very difficult one today. And it’s no cake walk online. I’ll share an interesting story with you in a few

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    I don’t know if its thriving or not, that’s why I left it out. Obviously I know that it exists.

    But the parallels here are also somewhat obvious. Locally daily newspaper under the gun makes a serious commitment to an entertainment weekly in a major market. Then throws in the towel.

    There’s no shortage of bad news out there today.

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    You do enjoy your little fantasies, don’t you, H Man?

  9. Craig Glazer says:

    I Love The Paper, Star,Pitch,Ink
    Hearne is right, its tough times and the internet together killing off the paper biz, we all know that. I just hate seeing it, I think we need them to stay on top of things better, they put everything in an organized form to draw from best. I see no good news about a closing. Yeah there is lots of bad news out there. Too much.

  10. bschloz says:

    Never Understood
    Always felt Ink was taking away from main paper…..why not integrate into the Preview etc..– I mean why should I pay the freight for that pub and then have to fish it out of the box instead of delivery to my home?

  11. Hearne Christopher says:

    Allow me to remind….
    When Preview first came out the Star distributed it for free in Westport and midtown. I remember it freaked out the Pitch staffers at the time. Who were relieved when that policy was discontinued.

    Maybe they should have kept it up. Preview is far and away more substantive than Ink – not even close. But clearly they overlap.

    And don’t forget, Ink goes out for free. The Star has to eat the printing bill; no subscribers to lighten the load. Everything has to be paid for by the advertisers. Who are chasing an audience who no longer reads print publications.

    What we learned at the Pitch was that a ton of the people who picked up the Pitch – much as we wanted them to be young, swinging hipsters, were none other than people like my mom and Star subscribers. That’s who reads print.

  12. Hearne Christopher says:

    Been quite a bit of panda shaving at 18th and Grand and all over the newspaper industry the past three years

  13. Interesting Story? says:

    Where is it?
    Where’s the interesting story that you were going to share with us, Hearne?

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