Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Black Ink Monday"...

Editorial cartoonists are joining together on Monday, Dec. 12, for a day of cartoons criticizing corporate downsizing in the newspaper industry, which is responsible for staggering job losses among the ranks of editorial cartoonists:

Since Ben Franklin and colonial times, the editorial cartoon has been one of the most visible and popular parts of the daily paper. However, recent changes within the newspaper industry have placed this American institution at risk.

Over the last 20 years, the number of cartoonists on the staff of daily newspapers nationwide has been cut in half. In the last month alone, the Tribune Company (owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and a half-dozen other prominent papers), has forced out well-known and award-winning cartoonists at the LA Times and Baltimore Sun, eliminating their positions entirely.

It occurs to me that, while my style of cartooning would probably be considered an "alternative" to the genre that these guys represent, my art still depends on the existence of their industry (if they went away, who would we be an "alternative" to?). While artists like me can poke them with a stick, and force the industry to stay smart and relevant, the "mainstream" editorial cartoonists are still carrying on the tradition of Thomas Nast and, as noted, Benjamin Franklin. If they disappeared, it seems to me that drawing silly cartoons with political messages would lose much of its meaning.

So, perhaps, it might be nice to pick out a couple of your favorites and send them a note of support.

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