MEDIA CHARGE OF THE NEWS-LITE BRIGADE

At a recent convention of the American News-_ paper Publisher Association, Park Cities People chief Tom McCartin was a topic of conversation. “You might want to have a tattoo of his face on your forearm as you strategize going forward,” one exec advised his peers. “Because if you can’t beat Tom and people like Tom, house by house and block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood, we’re going to lose the war.”

“Your problems,” McCartin told the bigger newspaper boys at the convention, by way of friendly warning, “are my opportunities. My reader is my friend, and I interact with my reader constantly and live off your retail base.”

McCartin’s latest venture, Northside People, will start landing in upper-crusty Golden Triangle mailboxes on August 17 to the tune of about 20,000 copies. His current People Plus sheet will no longer stray outside of Highland Park, where it will supplement the Park Cities People weekly.

McCartin’s new publication will only go to those Zip Codes heavy in numbers of folks who are making $50,000-plus a year. He claims he’ll be covering 93.2 percent of the folks in Dallas County who earn that magic figure. And the editorial (no surprises here) is also skewed toward the well-to-do.

A trial mock-up of North-side’s front page includes a story titled “Elegant Premiere ’89 gala benefits needy Texas children” and a picture of Stanley Marcus, who took time off from The Dallas Morning News’s “Viewpoints” page long enough to show off his collection of miniature books, which of course includes a copy of his own Who’s Minding the Store? The papers are filled with guest editorials from sundry oligarchs; “how great we art” pieces on lovable rich people; stand ’em up and shoot ’em snapshots from the latest HP society gala; and “service” pieces on how to cope with being rich.

McCartin insists that he’s trying to supplement the News and the Herald, not compete with them. “I hope they don’t mistake my minnow for a whale,” he says. But he’s not shy about munching into their ad base: “We were the first weekly in America to carry department stores [as advertisers}. Bloom-ingdale’s, Neiman’s, Foley’s, Sakowitz.. .no other weekly newspaper has done it. We’re doing pretty damn good.”

In other words-get that tattoo. And watch it carefully.

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