Mug-shot websites move beyond journalism to mainstream profiteers

From Poynter:

After failing to find a news job in North Carolina, former crime reporter Greg Rickabaugh launched The Jail Report, a weekly newspaper with companion websites, including and The publications feature crime news, analysis and features on repeat offenders and local law enforcement’s most wanted criminals. But the staple of the publications are pictures of people who have been arrested — publicly available mug-shots.
Rickabaugh’s business is booming. Since 2009, he’s grown to employ four full-time workers, a dozen part-timers and two of his brothers quit their full-time jobs to help him manage the company. Rickabaugh boasts that he’s earning more money publishing mug-shots than he ever did as a reporter, and he’s expanded the operation into South Carolina and California. But thanks to the proliferation of other mug-shot websites, Rickabaugh’s business model is under attack. In Georgia, where his flagship publication is located, one lawmaker is pursuing legislation to ban mug-shot websites outright.