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Newspaper changes across the nation

This blog deals primarily with newspaper based cartooning and as such major and minor shifts in the industry can have an impact on most of my readers. I subscribe to various newspaper and media related RSS feeds to keep track of the rumblings in the industry. Here are some of the recent changes that have caught my attention:

» The Washington Post, regarded as one of the best run newspapers in recent years, has announced that it will offer “an undetermined number” buy-outs to its staffers. The buy-outs are aimed at older staffers nearing retirement, union and management employees.

» The Tribune Company has announced that it will cut 400-500 jobs from its chain of newspapers that include the Chicago Tribune and LA Times.

» The Albuquerque Tribune will shutdown this Friday after failing to find a buyer. Its parent company, E.W. Scripps Co. has also shutdown its Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post papers in December of last year. The editor blames the loss of revenue as advertisers shift advertising from newspapers to the internet. It was a small paper with a daily circulation of about 10,000.

But this batch of news is not all gloom and doom.

» The Salt Lake Tribune has launched a small, free afternoon tabloid that is dispersed to commuters heading home. The tabloid has only 12-16 pages and runs four comics: Chuckle Bros, Diesel Sweeties, Girls and Sports and On A Claire Day.

Community Comments

#1 r stevens
February/22/2008
@ 10:02 am

Oh, neat! You just made my morning with that Salt Lake tidbit.

#2 Dave Kellett
February/22/2008
@ 1:44 pm

Thanks so much for the site, Alan! It’s a wonderful service you provide.

It’s such a shame to see, though, that the only counter-balancing good news of two major newspaper groups cutting hundreds of jobs and a three Scripps papers folding is “…but Salt Lake launched a small, free afternoon tabloid”.

I would despair of it, if I wasn’t making a comfortable living working solely online. Though the old gray mares are dying, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

#3 Corey Pandolph
February/22/2008
@ 2:36 pm

If the light at the end of the tunnel is being a “web only” cartoonist, then I quit.

There’s still some success to be had by straddling both print and the web, me thinks.

#4 Dave Kellett
February/22/2008
@ 3:50 pm

I wish you sincere luck with it, Corey. I’m not minimizing *any* way that *any* cartoonist can make a living. Gosh, why would I ever do that? I’m merely saying that, while one medium dies, the artform itself lives on.

So many blogs and commentaries on comic strips take on the feel of an Irish wake during the potato famine. A “Who died this week?” sort of feel… as one paper after another lays off hundreds in a go, shrinks page counts, or folds up completely.

But cartooning survived the death Hogarth and Gilray’s personally-sold subscriptions in the 18th century, it survived the death of Britain’s Punch, it survived the death of the Saturday Evening Post, and it will survive the death of newspapers. The *mediums* change, but the artform of cartooning goes on and on, is what I’m saying.

And you’re right: We’re still in a liminal state between mediums. There’s no reason to say one can’t make a living in both print and online cartooning. Rich Stevens is a perfect example of that. I’m just saying the death of newsprint doesn’t equate to the death of comics or professional careers in comics. My mortgage payments tell me otherwise.

#5 Corey Pandolph
February/22/2008
@ 4:04 pm

Agreed, Dave.

Sorry if I came a little gruff. Wasn’t my intention to chide what you’ve done with Sheldon. You’re a brilliant businessman and what you’ve achieved in a year should be commended.

The whole embracing of the web as a sole means of income just isn’t my cup of tea, is all.

Good luck with Sheldon.

Cheers,

Corey

#6 r stevens
February/22/2008
@ 4:05 pm

Shucks, it’s not even worth worrying about where we make our money as long as we make a decent living and get to do work we’re proud of.

#7 Corey Pandolph
February/22/2008
@ 4:10 pm

Words to live by, Richard.

“Shucks”. Awesome.

#8 Dave Kellett
February/22/2008
@ 4:18 pm

No worries, Corey! Thanks for the kind words.

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