Dallas City Council Approves Uniform Boxes

By: E&P Staff The Dallas City Council voted to approve the use of standardized news racks throughout certain parts of the city, including downtown.

Publishers will now have to distribute their publications in uniform black boxes as well as larger modular-sized racks fitted with eight slots, reported The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, a former Dallas Observer columnist, told Morning News reporter Dave Levinthal the new racks will eliminate "visual clutter" in the city. "It will make downtown look a lot better," she said.

The city plans to charge publishers $179 a year to lease individual racks. Currently, publishers pay an annual licensing fee of $5 for the right to place their own boxes in Dallas.

The new ordinance, which will take effect next June, will also force publishers to participate in a lottery system to determine which publications will be distributed in the eight-slot module.

"An unlucky publisher could be eliminated from the marketplace," Stuart Folb, publisher of the alternative weekly Dallas Observer, told Levinthal.

Belo, the parent company of the Morning News and the free distribution paper Quick, is working with the city and generally supports the ordinance. However, Belo Vice President of Operations Dan Blizzard said he was concerned about the lottery system. "It's a problem," he told his paper. "You have tremendous demand for certain publications, and readers who are looking for news may be restricted in finding up-to-date news."


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