Monday, December 12, 2005

Support Your Local Cartoonist!

Today is Black Ink Monday, the first ever theme cartoon day by editorial cartoonists to protest the downsizing of staff editorial cartoonist jobs.

Among the threats to jobs of political and editorial cartoonists is the “dulling down” or outright avoidance of strong opinions and editorials by news organizations — and none are stronger than political cartoons.

The strange attitude that a news organization’s op-ed page should be everything to every reader — or nonexistent, as with most TV and radio web sites — is wrong-headed. Publishers who do not want to offend anyone, out of fear that someone might cancel a subscription, or choose not to subscribe, place a gag on minority opinions (no pun intended).

In fact, this long-time trend is the cause of, not the solution to declining profits in the news business. Controversy sells, dullness doesn’t. Just ask the top publicists in Hollywood.

Blaming financial woes on new media gimmicks and technologies doesn’t hold water either. The ‘new’ always wears off, and consumers continue their search for stimulating content.

Politicians do have the power to hurt publishers who ridicule them (see any good history about the press in Nazi Germany). But giving in to bullies is even more wrong-headed.

To learn more about the protest, and see Black Ink Monday cartoons by other cartoonists, visit The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists Web site.

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