A secret weapon for editors, cartoonists: schools: mandated student testing around the country includes interpreting cartoons.
Political cartoonists are not accustomed to popularity. Newspapers typically run one cartoon per day on their editorial page, floating in a sea of text. Cartoon fans look to the comics page The comics page of a daily newspaper is a page largely or entirely devoted to comic strips. Other features that frequently appear on the comics page are crossword puzzles and horoscopes. Other special pages in newspapers include the sports page and the society page. rather than the editorial page for their daily cartoon fix. It's difficult for a political cartoonist, whose work is isolated from other cartoons, to build a community of fans. Ask a newspaper reader to name any political cartoonist; most people will struggle to come up with an answer.
These are tough times for cartoonists who have been losing jobs as newspapers cut their general budgets. I lost a daily gig at The Honolulu Advertiser to cost-cutting; other cartoonists who recently lost their jobs include Gary Markstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a daily morning broadsheet printed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. It is the primary newspaper in Milwaukee, the largest newspaper in Wisconsin and is distributed widely throughout the state. , Mike Lane of The Sun in Baltimore, Bill Schorr Bill Schorr is an American cartoonist who is probably best known for his syndicated editorial cartoons. He received the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award for 1993, and nominations for the same award for 1997 and 1998. of the Daily News in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , and Kirk Anderson of Pioneer Press in St. Paul St. Paul
as a missionary he fearlessly confronts the “perils of waters, of robbers, in the city, in the wilderness.” [N.T.: II Cor. 11:26]
See : Bravery . When a cartoonist dies or quits, his drawing table often remains empty as newspapers choose to run cheaper, softer, syndicated cartoons; glaring examples are the Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune
Daily newspaper published in Chicago. The Tribune is one of the leading U.S. newspapers and long has been the dominant voice of the Midwest. Founded in 1847, it was bought in 1855 by six partners, including Joseph Medill (1823–99), who made the paper , the Mercury News in San Jose San Jose, city, United States
San Jose (sănəzā`, săn hōzā`), city (1990 pop. 782,248), seat of Santa Clara co., W central Calif.; founded 1777, inc. 1850. , and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the only major city-wide newspaper in St. Louis, Missouri. Although written to serve Greater St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch is one of the largest newspapers in the region, and is available and read as far west as Springfield, Missouri. .
On the Internet, it is a different story. I now draw editorial cartoons for Slate.com, Microsoft's online opinion magazine. I also manage Slate's "Professional Cartoonists Index" (cagle.com) a huge site where fans can see daily-updating political cartoons by over a hundred fifty top cartoonists from around the world.
My cartoon site with Slate is wildly popular, with literally millions of visitors each month. The site dominates Slat& traffic with an audience that rivals the websites of the most popular newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
Morning daily newspaper. Established in 1881, it was purchased and incorporated in 1884 by Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917) under The Times-Mirror Co. (the hyphen was later dropped from the name). , The New York Times, and USA Today USA Today
National U.S. daily general-interest newspaper, the first of its kind. Launched in 1982 by Allen Neuharth, head of the Gannett newspaper chain, it reached a circulation of one million within a year and surpassed two million in the 1990s. . And I run the site by myself, from my home. It is a strange phenomenon that a humble political cartoon site eclipses the online audiences of popular characters like Snoopy Snoopy
world’s most famous beagle. [Comics: “Peanuts” in Horn, 542]
See : Dogs
imaginative dog. [Comics: “Peanuts” in Horn, 542–543]
See : Illusion , Dilbert, and the cartoons sites of United Media (Comics.com) and Universal Press Syndicate Universal Press Syndicate, an Andrews McMeel Universal company, is the world's largest independent syndicate and provides syndication for a number of lifestyle and opinion columns, comics, and various other content. (ucomics.com). The editorial cartoonists on my site receive much more mail from readers of my site than they receive from readers of their own newspapers--sometimes hundreds, even thousands of e-mails from fans and detractors on the Internet.
How can political cartoons be so popular on the Web while the profession suffers a slow death in print? The answer is: schools.
"The interpretation of an editorial cartoon" is included in the state-mandated testing of every state, and teachers are required to "teach to the test." Social studies teachers must find cartoons for their lessons somewhere. Our online audience expands as more schools add classroom sets of computers and teachers become aware of our site as a teaching tool. One class with twenty kids looking at dozens of cartoons can log hundreds or thousands of page views in one day. It is no mystery why the traffic to our site is so high.
The most common e-mail we receive reads, "Explain this cartoon to me." Our number two e-mail is, "Explain this cartoon to me, and I need an answer by 4 p.m. so that I can finish my paper which is due tomorrow morning."
Students see the cartoons as puzzles to be solved. To understand a political cartoon a reader must have knowledge of current events; alas, most students seem to have little awareness of what goes on in the world. We might expect that cartoons are used to teach an understanding of visual metaphors, but cartoons are more often used as a tool to encourage students to be aware of the news. In the same way that a new generation gets its news from The Daily Show on Comedy Central, kids are getting their news from political cartoons.
The use of cartoons in the schools is a treasure that is unappreciated by our profession. Imagine what carrot farmers would pay for every school child in the nation to be forced to eat and appreciate carrots. Students are force-fed political cartoons and taught to love them. Cartoonists and editors don't seem to notice that this is an opportunity to develop a new generation of cartoon fans and newspaper readers.
Newspaper in Education programs deliver a stack of newspapers at a teacher's door once a week--a stack of newspapers each with only one editorial cartoon. Teachers, to teach to the test, need lots of political cartoons from their newspapers; and the teachers are not getting what they need.
The solution is simple, easy, and inexpensive. Editors, if they don't already, should run a collection of syndicated editorial cartoons, a roundup that that would run once a week on the day that NIE NIE Newspapers in Education
NIE National Intelligence Estimate (US government)
NIE Newspaper In Education
NIE National Institute of Education (various countries) newspapers are delivered to schools. Beyond schools, a roundup gives potential editorial cartoon fans a place to go and makes it possible to develop a cartoon fan base of loyal readers on "roundup day." These fans exist; they are rabid and they are young--an important point to remember as the average readership of the editorial page grows older.
An editorial cartoon roundup is not a silly diversion. It is compelling content and a serious marketing tool; it serves the needs of the schools and it builds newspaper readership for the future.
Daryl Cagle is editorial cartoonist for Slate.com and runs a syndicate, Cagle Cartoons, with more than seven hundred fifty newspaper clients. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org