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Dallas Morning News drops 14 comics; readers angry

The Dallas Morning News once had one of the largest entertainment sections of puzzles, advice columns and comics in the nation that spanned a total of four pages. In a cost-cutting measure to reduce paper costs, Jeanne Culler, Internal Communications Manager for the Dallas paper said that they had to “bring the entertainment section inline with others in the industry.” The result was a loss of 14 comic features. They did opt to pick up Scott Hilburn’s Argyle Sweater and leave one slot open for a feature to be determined by a reader poll. The poll, as of this morning, has received just over 4,600 votes. If any the comment section on The Daily Cartoonist section is any indication, readers are angry at such a slashing – and frustration that they can’t find the poll online and have instead begun leaving their votes in the comment section of a story posted back in 2006 about a Dallas Morning News poll.

The comics that are being voted on include: B.C., Cathy, Drabble, For Better or For Worse, Hagar the Horrible, In the Bleachers, Lio, Mark Trail, Marmaduke, Over the Hedge, Red and Rover, The Other Coast, The Piranha Club and The Wizard of Id. B.C. so far has a narrow lead with 600 votes over Wizard of Id’s 573. To vote, readers do have to register with the paper which includes giving them your zip code. Culler said at this point they were not weeding out non-Dallas area votes as many out-of-area subscribers would be affected. The polls close at 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday the 15th of October.

Community Comments

#1 Tom Richmond
October/8/2008
@ 7:59 am

The newspaper industry has it all backwards. Their publications are full of content that anyone can get easily, better (multimedia, instant links to other related articles, etc) and FREE on the internet. Entertainment features like puzzles and comics are something readers enjoy that are not so easy to find conveniently collected on the internet. Newspapers would be smarter to increase what little content it has that makes it unique from the internet instead of cutting it.

#2 T.D. Stevens
October/8/2008
@ 8:04 am

The new “Mix & Match” in each section of the paper is very poor. The format was not broken.

PLEASE reinstate:

BC,Drabble,Mark Trail, Mother Goose & Grimm, Red & Rover, The Paranha Club, The Wizard of Id, and the Wonderword.

We have taken the DMN for just shy of 40 years. This latest change will be a decision maker to continue or not.

#3 Larry Levine
October/8/2008
@ 8:18 am

Back in the (g)olden days when my grandfather worked for the NY Daily Mirror–comics were the main draw (no pun intended) to which newspaper people brought.

Cut down sports coverage, NOT the comics section!!!

#4 Alan Jones
October/8/2008
@ 9:31 am

So, it was even worse than I heard from my Father-in-law, who is one of the pissed-off Dallas-area readers. It’s amazing that what so many people agree to be the sweetest part of a paper’s content is what gets cut so drastically.

Maybe if newspapers converted into more of an entertainment delivery model, with some creative thought/application, instead of trying to grab the primary spot as a news provider, and actually had whole large sections (10-15+ pgs?) be nothing BUT comics and other entertaining features, news would simply be another but smaller element.

Especially in dark times (economically or otherwise), I think growing attention would turn to the relatively inexpensive entertainment that can be provided via newsprint. Comics are still a popular form of entertainment, getting it to the consumer in a smart way is the trick.

#5 steve skelton
October/8/2008
@ 9:33 am

Tom, I completely agree!

#6 Stacy Curtis
October/8/2008
@ 9:51 am

I disagree with you, Tom.
You can find most every comic on the internet with very little searching.

You can go here:

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComics.mpl

And if you can’t find it there, just go to the syndicate sites.

Granted it’s not as easy as opening up a page in your newspaper, but it’s better than having to go out to your driveway on a cold morning in your pj’s to pick up a wet newspaper.

Sorry I’m not helping, but it’s one of my peeves.
Putting newspaper content on the internet for free isn’t helping the newspaper industry or the comics industry at all.

#7 Judith Wright
October/8/2008
@ 11:10 am

The comics-puzzles- advice section was the first thing that was pulled out of the Dallas paper as soon as paper arrived inside the house. The format was excellent and we really enjoyed the nearly four full pages of comics as well as the puzzles and advice columns. We are more than disappointed with the new mix-match format and especially with the comics we loved being cut.

Our local paper here in Tyler has a very limited comic section. Yours was the one we really enjoyed and we are both angry that you would choose to reinvent a section of the paper that was not broken. Surely there are other ways you could save money.

As a family, we also need to reevaluate our money saving strategies and dropping the Dallas Morning News would be a considerable saving, especially when you mess with what we enjoy the most.

Please reconsider this “trimmed lineup of comics”.

#8 Don Sosebee
October/8/2008
@ 11:36 am

I agree with some previous opinions; the new format is terrible, not to speak of the strips that have been removed. How about just a little less sports and popular culture,which, if you’re on the internet, you get more than you’d ever want.

#9 Tom Richmond
October/8/2008
@ 2:04 pm

Ah, yes, Stacy. That is true… but there is SEARCHING involved

News is news, and given the content it’s something people seek out. CNN.com is all one needs for a national level source of that content. Local TV or newspaper sites also provide that. People will look for that when in front of their computers. They will seek it. Classified are the same way.

Entertainment is different. It’s a luxury not a need. It’s something they would rather consume sitting in the living room, at the kitchen table, and delivered to them as opposed to seeking it out. I would be willing to bet if you polled 1,000 people you stopped subscribing to their newspapers, 100% of them would be actively getting their news from the internet and a tiny fraction would seeking and reading comics. Yet I would imagine most of those 1,000 polled would say they still enjoyed the comics and entertainment features of the paper when they used to get it.

Content is not all the same. I still think that there are aspects of the newspaper that are still attractive to the reader that are harder to enjoy or easy to not bother with on the internet, but missed anyway. A successful model for delivering comics, or for generating the desire to have comics delivered, over the internet does not yet exist.

Plus evrey time I try to do the crossword puzzle on my computer it takes ages to clean the ball poitn pen ink off my screen.

#10 clyde fredrickson
October/8/2008
@ 5:19 pm

We have subscribed to the DMN for more than 25 years. Our business ran ads in it, and the paper was a nice conservative balance to the Times Herald (an ultra-liberal disaster.)
Well, guess what. The DMN has become too expensive to advertise in, it has become a liberal me-too mouthpiece, the subscription rates have continued to escalate, and now, with the elimination of much of the entertainment section, they have also eliminated any reason to continue the subscription. Color us gone.

#11 Clyde Fredrickson
October/8/2008
@ 5:25 pm

Note: My last comment of two minutes ago HAD my name in it, both first and last. Are you being selective because I am not a socialist???

#12 Darlene Yarnetsky
October/8/2008
@ 5:58 pm

We are bombarded by news from all media now, but in newspapers we can get a type of news that is quite different from the talking heads on TV. More straight news, with in depth detail, local news, and for the most part opinions and commentary relegated to the opinion page where they belong. Newspapers are still a vital piece of news distribution.

That said however, today’s newspaper is going through an enormous fiscal challenge. Subscriptions are dwindling as other media compete. People settle for quick sound bites and 30 minute news programs.

The comics are still a draw, despite the internet, for those who like to take a quiet moment in their day AWAY from the computer, and along with the entertainment section, they should be looked at as a way of diversifying content to appeal to as many readers as possible.

Comics and puzzles are also a way to draw younger readers to the newspaper. I learned much from skimming what I could understand of the front page articles while waiting for my turn at the comics section as a kid, and grew to read more than one paper daily as an adult.

I think the paper would be surprised how many of it’s readers cherish those minutes they get to take a break from the real world affairs to read the comics. I know I still do.

#13 John D. Walters SR
October/8/2008
@ 7:22 pm

Get rid of Doonesbury! It stinks! As does ‘Get Fuzzy, Judge Parker, and Bizarro’. Also get rid of
‘Pluggers, Non Sequitor, Peals Before Sine, Rose is Rose, and Sherman’s Lagoon’. ALL OF THE aformentioned STINKS. PERIOD…

Bring back RED & ROVER!! and all the other ones you pulled. Maggie and Jiggs would be a good ONE to add. Use your head dammit. And rinstall the comics as a separate
section of the paper PERIOD. I take
the comic section with me when I go to STARBUCK’S TO GET A $3.50 COFFEE.

#14 George Jones
October/8/2008
@ 8:21 pm

Since the price increase I only buy 2 dailies and the Sunday paper every week. Today I bought 3 papers from 3 different sources, two convenience stores and one paper box. All were missing the want ad sections as well as the comics & puzzle section we usually found sandwiched into the homes want ads. I demanded my money back from the stores but had to keep the one from the box. If you’ve eliminated these sections, I really don’t need the DMS. I’ll just watch or listen to the late news on TV or radio. Now if I can get your telemarketers to stop calling to sell me subscriptions, I’ll be happy.

#15 mike crachiolo
October/8/2008
@ 8:37 pm

this is for john walters if you want to read maggie and jiggs bka bringing up father subscribe to the king features on line syndicate daily ink, this comic is in the vintage section along with krazy kat flash gordon buz sawyer rip kirby beetle bailey really old ones plus the little king one called brick bradford and the phantom thought i would let you know

#16 Randal Milholland
October/9/2008
@ 4:45 pm

Larry Levine: “Cut down sports coverage, NOT the comics section!!!”

Cut down sports coverage in Texas? Are you kidding? While I personally would love for that to happen, it’s about as likely as the state to start pushing vegetarianism.

#17 Alan Matthews
October/9/2008
@ 6:54 pm

For several years the DMN pattern has been to charge more and give less content. As circulation continues to drop, the same stratgey intensifies. Now that I can, or have to, get almost everything I want on-line, there really is no reason to keep subscribing. And in that over-50 group that newspapers depend on for survival.

#18 Scott Kurtz
October/9/2008
@ 9:14 pm

Do people really stop buying papers because they can get comic strips online for free? I mean, does a person walk past a newspaper and not pick it up because in their head they’re saying “meh. I’ll read the comics on chron.com when I get into the office.”

My dad subscribes to the paper. He reads it every morning over breakfast. I don’t see him ever being the guy who goes to work and reads the same content online by finding it in different sources.

And the sunday paper ritual as well. That’s another thing that my dad is not going to try to find a substitute for online.

Do people buy the newspaper because comics are in there? Or do people who buy newspapers, buy them anyway and enjoy the comics in there?

#19 anne hambrock
October/9/2008
@ 9:24 pm

For me the comics were the only thing I read in the paper when I was a kid but as I got older I branched out and read more and more until now I read the whole thing. I’ve watched my kids do the same thing. My 9 year old only reads the comics, my 14 year old the comics, the op/eds and the front page and my 17 year old the whole shebang.

Of course the only section they fight over is the comics!

#20 Jim Russell
October/10/2008
@ 9:03 am

I must agree for the most part with the above comments. I moved to the Dallas area in 1972 and have been a subscriber to the DMN ever since. However, I can get a less biased, more current view of world events via the Internet or I can choose to read about it the next day in the paper. For local news there are at least 6 local TV stations that do an adequate job, it could be better. Last night’s coverage of Pacman Jones latest escapade would not have been my lead story. The one section of the paper that I always read is the comics, advice and puzzle section. When you cut 14 comics my newspaper reading time was greatly reduced – 9 of the 14 I use to read everyday. I too shall have to give serious thought to just how much I get from the Morning News when subscription time comes around again.

#21 Jarvis Young
October/10/2008
@ 9:22 am

The DALLAS MORNING NEWS seems to drasticaly be looking for an identity. It seems that the paper changes something every other week to “improve” itself for readers. Fact is, what once was a great major newspaper has become a mediocre mess. Sad really. I’m not surprised by the latest. It’s just another step in a downward journalistic spiral.

#22 Jim Russell
October/10/2008
@ 9:34 am

It would have been nice if Alan Gardner had included a link to the site where you could cast a vote to restore “your favorite” in his article above. I suppose the Sunday Comics will be cut back to two pages.

#23 Nedra Francis
October/10/2008
@ 5:34 pm

Please return to the comics “For Better or Worse”. It doesn’ matter Lynn is starting over. Also the comic “B.C” and “Red and Rover” are very well done. Thank you.

#24 Nancy Coffey
October/11/2008
@ 10:40 am

I have subscribed to the DMN for over 40 years and when we moved from Dallas to the small town or Van, we continued to subscribe to your paper. The main reason was the comics section. My husband & I do the puzzles everyday and now you have eliminated so many comic strips and the large Saturday puzzle. While I can respect your need to cut costs, surely there are more places where cost can be cut. In a time where news is dreary and what’s more is televised several times a day, the comic section provided entertaining relief. Please,please reconsider your decisions.

#25 Janet Merritt
October/12/2008
@ 5:35 pm

I am torn between voting for Drabble and Red & Rover, so please allow me to vote once for each. I’m relieved that you are going to print Wonderword every day. It’s my favorite! I submit this as a comment because I was unable to find dallasnews.com/comicsvote.

#26 gene leslie
October/12/2008
@ 6:40 pm

I think you are making a major mistake deleting comic strips

#27 charles humphreys
October/13/2008
@ 11:38 am

I have been a Dallas News reader and subscriber for many years. I take the Dmn now to read the obits,sports ,and the comics. When you cut the best of the comic section,it will effect my subscribing to the DMN. I can get the obits and the sports from the internet. There are other newspapers in this area I can read!

#28 George Vrla
October/13/2008
@ 2:21 pm

You are dropping The Pirana Club…you have got to be kidding !! Its the firstcomic I read every morning. Please reconsider.

#29 CHL Instructor
October/14/2008
@ 10:19 am

The current plight of newspapers in general has little to do with the state of the economy.

It has to do with the lack of relevance of newspapers, and their inability to adopt new and more effective business models.

#30 Debbie Marmer
October/14/2008
@ 6:58 pm

I am very disappointed that you have cut the comics. My son reads the comics every morning. It helps him get in a good mood before school. Please bring back “Kathy”.

#31 Donna Murley
October/15/2008
@ 7:01 am

I feel the same as the other listed about cutting the comics. Red & Rover, Wizadzid, Blondie. These are the best cartoons and you want to take them away.

#32 Joan Leavitt
October/15/2008
@ 8:07 am

I do not find anywhere to vote for my favorite missing cartoons!!! Why advertise that you care what “we” want– without making it possible!!!
I am missing Marmaduke, Mark T, Judge Parker and
B C — but mostly– “For Better or Worse”. Hope this “vote” counts!!! I much prefered the old format– but will get use to this one– especially if you bring back one of my favorites. The “news” is often so discouraging these days– that my time with the comics each morning brings a smile to my face. I need that!
Thank you. J Leavitt

#33 Gabrielle Kickham
October/15/2008
@ 9:21 am

The Dallas Morning News is a sub-par newspaper for a major city. That said, I believe in supporting print journalism. That may end with the furhter diminution of my favorite part of the paper, the comics. “Red&Rover” is the last thing I look at before leaving the house in the morning. It’s innocent and upbeat in a world that seems often to lack both of those elements. I’ve come to appreciate the relatively new “Lio” only to see it promptly dumped by the DMN.

If I’m going to get my comics on line, why shouldn’t I get my news that way and from nationally recognized papers?

#34 mazie derrick
October/15/2008
@ 12:26 pm

You stopped Mark Trail by Hagar, Red& Rover by Brian Basset, Drabble,
Hints from Heloise, This is best part of the paper also you went to a smaller font, why? Please bring these back. I agree with the rest of your voters, there is enough bad news in the world and we need something to make us smile each day,
so please bring these strips. Thanks in advance.

#35 Kristin Gammill
October/15/2008
@ 1:46 pm

It is a crying shame that The Dallas Morning News says it has to fall inline with other industries papers. I guess that show the poor leadership over there instead of being leaders here for the public that is keeping them in business.

I read the paper everyday and looking forward to the color comics like Marmaduke, B.C., Hagar the Horrible and The Wizard of Id. DMN keeps taking out everything I like Herman, Scott Messanier, vet medicine and pet and people editorials. I see instead the crap they replaced them with so I canceled my subscription for over a year.

DMN needs to leave in what the customers wants not what you want. The reading public liked the paper the way it was — so go mess with the online paper

#36 Jan Jones
October/15/2008
@ 3:57 pm

As the beginning of each day starts, we look forward to the comic section to brighten an otherwise dreary news worthy day. Please consider bringing back some of our favorites which are Red & Rover, Mark T., Marmaduke, Judge Parker,& The Piranha Club just to name a few.

Thank you so much.

#37 Jan Jones
October/15/2008
@ 3:59 pm

Please keep Mark T., Red & Rover, Pirahna Club, Judge Parker. Thank you.

#38 Jan Jones
October/15/2008
@ 4:00 pm

Please keep Mark T., Red & Rover, Piranha Club, Judge Parker. Thank you.

#39 Jan Jones
October/15/2008
@ 4:01 pm

Please keep the comics the way they were.

#40 Karl Bowman
October/18/2008
@ 3:45 pm

I sent a letter to the editor complaining about this at he DMN today. I doubt they will answer. I also told them they wanted $57 to renew my subscription and I sent in $40 as thats what I felt it was worth. It doesn’t make it to my yard about two days a week before I leave for work, and doesn’t show up at all about a day a week. I will think very hard about keeping the newspaper as it has just turned into a very shoddily run mess. If I don’t renew I will miss it, but missing what? Maybe I will give the Fort Worth paper a try.

#41 Pat Brisendine
October/19/2008
@ 9:44 am

I am retired, and have taken the paper for over 50 years……..and yes I love the comics and read them first. I can catch the crime, sports, fashion, politics, from the Tv and Internet. I like to laugh and read something positive. Bring back Mark Trail, Red and Rover, For Better or for Worse, which you have…….and you can eliminate
Mother Goose Grimm, Bizaro,Get Fuzzy, Opus and Pearls Before Swine…….these are useless attempts at entertainment.

#42 John Moore
October/19/2008
@ 7:02 pm

Pat, you must be like 80!! :-) Good Stuff.

#43 Larry Melby
October/20/2008
@ 9:58 am

Well I hope the staff at the DMN all enjoy there new careers as door greeters at wal-mart, but they would probably screw that up as well

#44 Gloria A. Joiner
October/20/2008
@ 3:54 pm

I want to know what happen to Mark Twails?

#45 Gloria A. Joiner
October/20/2008
@ 3:54 pm

So, what happen to Mark Twail

#46 Gloria joier
October/20/2008
@ 3:57 pm

So what happening to Mark Twails? I really enjoyed watching what things was getting into. sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#47 Gloria Joiner
October/20/2008
@ 3:59 pm

So, what happen to Mark Twain, i was enjoyed wandering how he was going to fine a clu in handle things.

#48 Pat Brisendine
October/21/2008
@ 9:26 am

A comment to John Moore……….not 80 yet sweetie, just prefer quality………

#49 J. F. Sharp
October/21/2008
@ 3:06 pm

Please bring Mark Trail back. The artist is awesome and the stories are great. We do not like the comics that politics are brought into like Doonesbury – we hear enough of that. We have been taking the DMN for 32 years but now we don’t know for how long with all the changes. Why fix something that isn’t broke.

#50 j.d. henry
June/1/2010
@ 6:59 am

This paper has become a joke.Idiots on sports,want ads unaffordable,crappy stories,could never report something nice happening…..to top it off after over 35 years they want $360 a year for this bird cage junk poop collector!!!I quit taking it,have never been sorry!!They call 2-3 times a week with better offer…if you let them take it monthly from your checking account…..”ha” guess again…I’m looking forward to the day it belly’s up!!!!! I don’t want it if it’s free!!!

#51 Gar Molloy
June/1/2010
@ 8:34 am

“For me the comics were the only thing I read in the paper when I was a kid but as I got older I branched out and read more and more until now I read the whole thing. I?ve watched my kids do the same thing. My 9 year old only reads the comics, my 14 year old the comics, the op/eds and the front page and my 17 year old the whole shebang.”

Hmmm…kids gradually becoming interested in current events, having first become familiarised with newspapers through the comics pages? Why that almost sounds like a deliberate move on the part of the newspapermen of yesteryear. It also sounds like another argument in favour of retaining a decent comics section in the paper.

#52 Denny Davis
May/18/2011
@ 6:36 am

Just got the bill for the daily paper, $407, guest what, I’ll miss the comics but not all the other bs. To bad the Dallas morning news can’t realize they are pricing themselves out of business to the average household

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