am journal express dies

Talk about sour grapes. A few months ago, two new free daily “newspapers” launched in Dallas: the awkwardly named A.M. Journal Express (founded by an ex-Dallas Morning News exec) and Quick (published by the DMN itself).
They were pretty similar: Both were attempts to attract rushed non-readers with a speedy summary of the day’s news. Quick was more targeted at younger (18-34) readers, was flashier, and did a better job on pop culture and entertainment. It also had one big edge: It could repurpose DMN stories, which made up most of Quick’s content and gave it much better local coverage.
The A.M. Journal Express wasn’t as attractive (although it did feel more like a newspaper than Quick’s magaziney style). It had next to zero local reporting; what little it did came from the AP wire or from its staff of a couple reporters. (On the Google cache of Friday’s AMJE, there are 20 stories listed. Only one is written by an AMJE reporter — the rest are all wire. Even the Dallas Mavericks playoff stories are wire.)
Plus, Quick had the financial resources of a major media corporation behind it. A.M. Journal Express was launched by American Consolidated Media, which owns a few small community papers.
Anyway, you can see why Quick might have a few advantages in the marketplace. And it’s questionable whether a city like Dallas could support one of these minipapers — much less two of them. (It’s primarily a distribution question — without home delivery, free papers really only work in markets with lots of people using public transit, whose stations can serve as distribution points and whose buses/trains can serve as reading time. Dallas is a freeway town all the way.)
So it’s not surprising to anyone that A.M. Journal Express was apparently shut down today. (Their web site is already dead.)
I had a lengthy post written here about the absurdity of what AMJE CEO Jeremy Halbreich claimed were the causes of his publication’s demise. (He seems to blame a brutal, brown-shirted phalanx of Belo thugs roaming the streets of Dallas, dealing ink-stained injustice to anyone who dares to cross its path.) But then I realized it would be linked by the D Magazine blog, and I don’t want the Dallas media pub. So I think I’ll stick to my general policy of avoiding DMN commentary here.
All I’ll say is this: Dallasites, did you know any devoted A.M. Journal Express readers? I’d guess no. There’s your reason, Jeremy.
(Full disclosure: I led the initial concept design team for what would become Quick over a year ago.)

6 thoughts on “am journal express dies”

  1. i’m glad to see them go. the people who hand them out near my office downtown are relentless. now if only we can get rid of the ones handing out the quick…
    (incidentially, whoever thought that the best mode of distribution for these would be to pay people to stand on every street corner during morning rush hour should be shot. they drive me insane.)

  2. AMJE was getting there – Quick had no value and was just a pawn. Plain and simple. Charles – you are and asshole. Regardless of what you thought of AMJE – there are still many people who gave up promising careers to help get this thing going, and were dedicated to its cause. They are ALL unemployed now. The word is that the Quick staff is far from enjoying their product, and can’t wait until its cancellation, which is on its way. Charles, do not work for a well respected company, but a loathed monopoly.

  3. For the record, I assume the anonymous commenter above meant to call me (Josh, the guy who runs this site) an asshole, not Charles.
    I do feel sorry for the AMJE people who have lost their jobs. But just because a business has nice, worthy people working for it doesn’t mean the marketplace is obliged to support a weak product. There was zero chance Dallas would support two free minidailies — hell, there’s a decent chance it won’t support even one. The market will decide.
    Anyway, to call Belo a “monopoly” is just dumb. This market has two major metro dailies (the DMN and the Star-Telegram), more than a dozen other daily or near-daily suburban papers, one of the nation’s larger alt-weeklies, another dozen or so city and suburban weeklies, a monthly city magazine and its various offshoots, two Spanish-language dailies, a black weekly, a gay weekly, and four college newspapers. And that’s just print — add in six TV stations with news operations, KRLD radio, and countless web sites.
    Out of all that, Belo runs the DMN, Quick, Al Dia (one of the Spanish papers), and WFAA (which has the third highest ratings of the six TV stations). Calling that a monopoly is just ignorant.

  4. Oh I read the local news all the time online. I just meant I think it’s been about five years since I bought a “paper” paper.

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