Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saving political cartoonists

Watching newspapers die a death by inches has really hurt. And I could get into any number of reasons why that is and why I hope newspapers survive this continuing onslaught in some form or another.

But even before the worst of it in the past nine months, newspapers were beginning to feel the squeeze and one of the first cuts made were to political cartoonists. That's a pity because a good political cartoonist is worth his (and occasionally her) weight in gold. One image which can cut to the absolute heart of a debate. Which could more effectively skewer a foolish politician more than thousands of biting words from columnists.

However, they've been purged slowly but surely by the number crunchers. I kind of regret having never worked with a great political cartoonist. For both The Packet and The Express we had Peter Pickersgill, who did cartoons for all the community newspapers in Newfoundland and Labrador. And Peter may well be a nice man, but he's not a good political cartoonist. His artwork does nothing for me, it's not funny, particularly cutting nor insightful. It's a pity really.

All the more reason when you see a political cartoon like the one below. Now that's a cartoon that does everything you want - it's simple, well-illustrated, hammers home a point and gets people talking. It's about the recent murder of an abortion doctor.

I'm not even saying I agree with the point this cartoon makes. But by god if you don't have a physical reaction to that cartoon, then there's something wrong. It got more people talking then the initial story about the murder did. Go here for more reaction.

I hope this craft doesn't fade away. I suspect it will adapt and survive, but it's just kind of scary to watch right now. And hey, if any of the recently unemployed political cartoonists want to move to Newfoundland and do them for the local community papers, I suspect you would make a few editors very happy people.

(By the way, h/t to Blog@Newsarama for the cartoon link.)

Last Five
1. My iron lung - Radiohead*
2. Millionaire girlfriend - Jonathan Coulton
3. Born in the USA (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. The luckiest - Ben Folds
5. And the cradle will rock - Van Halen


WJM said...

Yes, but if someone put you in the editor's chair, with a gun to your head, and said "Pickersgill or KT, pick one, and pick'im now!", which one do you pick(ersgill)?

towniebastard said...

KT in a second. I've at least thought some of his stuff has been clever or amusing. Pickersgill has never done that for me.

WJM said...

But the "art"?