Tom Toles cartoonist
With a nod of thanks to Tom Toles

The noticeably declining frequency of editorial cartoons

| Faithful readers will know that I often illustrate my articles with editorial cartoons. The sad news is that newspapers are cutting back on these editorials in a picture.

I have long subscribed to GoComics where I keep tabs on a collection of favorite editorial cartoonists, currently numbering nearly 20. I also watch other comics that often have something provocative to say: Doonesbury, Pearls Before Swine, Rudy Park, etc.

The way good cartoonists manage to perfectly capture a trenchant point about an issue leaves me in awe. But I don't just follow those with whom I usually agree. I also follow some with whom I usually disagree, just to see how the rest of the world is viewing my issues. Lisa Benson, for example, is someone I almost never, ever agree with, but I like the way she captures the right-wing Weltanschauung. Jeff Danzinger, another who seems to sympathize usually with the Right, recently has apparently reached his limit for craziness, and I now and then have to give him two thumbs up.

But lately something distressing has been happening: there are fewer and fewer new editorial cartoons published on weekends. The following screen capture from the GoComics site on January 9 clearly shows that not a single editorial cartoon in my collection was published that day.

My editorial cartoons for January 9
My editorial cartoons for January 9

It's obvious to me that as print publishers have struggled in the new media environment, one of the ways they have pared expenses is to reduce the number of editorial cartoons they pay for each week. This is certainly a tragedy because, as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words," and the cartoons can make a point that's hard to miss at a glance, whereas written editorials often require careful reading and close attention.

Alas and alack.

Last updated on Apr 29, 2016

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