Once More Into the Breach

Remember A.M. Journal Express? No? Oh, c'mon, you remember. The free daily news-in-brief "commuter" newspaper launched in Dallas last November? It was available on street corners for about four months before folding. You must have seen it.

Maybe you didn't. Now you might get a second chance.

Bill Hawkins, chief executive officer of locally based Citizens Capital Corp. , says his company is attempting to acquire the assets--apparently it had some--of the failed newspaper from owners American Consolidated Media and reopen it in some form.

What that might be, Hawkins wouldn't say, except the paper won't be a daily and will be aimed at "non-traditional newspaper readers," which means those people who don't read newspapers, or as we in the biz call them, "ignoramuses."

The good news for Hawkins is that Dallas may soon have a ready supply of out-of-work journalists available to staff the paper, as The Dallas Morning News is preparing to cut staff for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the daily's recent circulation scandal involving inflated numbers. (We know the scandal has nothing to do with the pending layoffs 'cause DMN honchos--who, by the way, knew absolutely nothing about the inflation--say so. So there.)

Hawkins was reluctant to share much information on his plans for the paper, since the deal likely won't be completed for another two weeks and he doesn't want to tip his hand to any potential competitors. Buzz can understand that last concern, since Quick, the Morning News' own free daily, was hurried into production just before A.M. Journal Express was launched, in a maneuver known in highly technical business jargon as "cock blocking."

"One has to be very careful about what one puts out there," Hawkins says. Yes, one does, especially when one scrounges for ad dollars and readers on the DMN's turf.

Hawkins says Citizens Capital owns one other publication, Black Financial News. It also markets SCOR brand athletic shoes that are manufactured in China and sold online as an inexpensive alternative to pricey name-brand sneakers. At least, we think they are. Buzz had no luck attempting to reach the brand's online store at www.scorbrands.com.


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