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Washington Times ends Sunday comic section

The Washington Times, after cutting their daily comics section last month, ran an announcement in yesterday’s paper stating that they have cut the Sunday funnies as well. The announcement read, “Effective today, The Washington Times will no longer run Sunday comics. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Community Comments

#1 Stacy Curtis
December/21/2009
@ 1:28 pm

If the emergency oxygen masks drop down, put your own mask on first. This will decrease the risk of you passing out before being able to help your children or other readers. Your seat cushion doubles as a flotation device, in the event of a water landing….

#2 Dan Bielinski
December/21/2009
@ 2:09 pm

sigh

#3 Dave Stephens
December/21/2009
@ 2:12 pm

This decision seems ill-thought out to me. But if their subscription base doesn’t suffer, I suppose EVERY SINGLE PAPER will follow suit because SAVING MONEY trumps EMPLOYMENT of cartoonists…

The end of comic strips is nigh. The Physical King is Dead – Long Live the Digital King!

#4 Ted Rall
December/21/2009
@ 2:24 pm

Je pense que non.

NPR ran an interesting “On the Media” segment a few weeks ago that pointed out that digital media can be turned off by the flip of a switch, as the Chinese and Iranian governments do whenever people get rambunctious–they just turn off the Internet. As the political system continues to collapse and the economy withers away to nothing, the printing press–which can’t be stopped–will be king.

Why did the military build the Internet? Think about it.

#5 Chad Welch
December/21/2009
@ 2:35 pm

Seriously? This is what this is going to boil down to? When we get too rambunctious on the web, Uncle Sam will sensor us?

Seriously, the conspiracy theory is kind of ridiculous, and just about as likely to happen as monkeys flying out of my butt. With bagpipes, playing “Amazing Grace” and the theme to The A-Team: A Medley.

#6 Dave Stephens
December/21/2009
@ 2:37 pm

Yeah, no unintended consequences there, hm? LOL

So, Ted, here’s two questions for you – will there be MORE comic strips being published by newspapers in 2010 or will there be LESS?

Will there be MORE cartoonists employed by newspapers in 2010 or will there be LESS?

Think about it.

#7 Stacy Curtis
December/21/2009
@ 5:21 pm

Isn’t the Washington Times struggling to stay in business, or am I just imagining that? I thought I read they were on the verge of a shutdown. Maybe I’m wrong.

#8 Ted Dawson
December/21/2009
@ 6:40 pm

The Times was turned over to the Messiah’s heirs and the boys are having a family feud on how to run the paper. Plus the paper no longer gets its weekly allowance from the church.

I don’t think any of this is a reflection on the newspaper market or comics. It reminds me of the sibling fighting that lead to the dissolution of Harvey Comics.

I suspect they’ll regret dropping the comics, if the paper survives, that is.

#9 Mike Peterson
December/21/2009
@ 7:15 pm

Well, they’ve just announced they’re dropping the Sunday edition entirely. They had earlier announced that they aren’t interested in home delivery except in certain ZIP codes and would be delivering copies to decision makers. Which is to say, the Times is no longer pretending to be a newspaper and is simply a sort of lobbying vehicle, targeted to the people they’re trying to reach.

Anyway, having first scrapped the intentionally humorous part of their Sunday coverage, they’re not dropping the unintentionally funny stuff, too.

#10 henry clausner
December/21/2009
@ 9:59 pm

unbelievable……

#11 Ted Rall
December/22/2009
@ 8:17 am

The question isn’t how many cartoonists will be printed in print newspapers in 2010. The question is, how many will be in 2020. The newspaper shakeout is likely to continue to get worse before it gets better–because the economy overall will likely continue to get worse and worse.

I’m optimistic about print because, even in failed states like Iraq, print newspapers thrive. Of course, the Internet will continue to mature as a secondary (emphasis on secondary) market for cartoons.

#12 Steve Skelton
December/22/2009
@ 10:48 am

Makes all the sense in the world to wipe out features and focus on news, since newspapers really have that market cornered these days.

My local paper has purchased new presses and is now printing a full page of daily comics in color. Perhaps because they realize the value of such content. They are focusing more on local stories, and even put the value of the coupons within right on the front page. Just a couple of ideas for other editors out there watching their livelihood spiral out of control.

#13 Ted Dawson
December/22/2009
@ 10:59 am

The Times has NEVER posted a profit as long as it has been around.

It’s interesting that the newspaper market is thriving in many other countries. Globally, newspaper growth has increased something like 8% over the past five years.

As far as comics go, I don’t know about today, but eight years ago half of the papers that carried my strip were foreign, and they paid much more than domestic papers, even without translation.

If newspapers were doing their job, they would be selling MORE papers during this recession, like the Washington Post. As O’Reilly reported this year:

…the discussion needs to move beyond the continued affirmation that the future of news is exclusively online. â??This oversimplifies a rather complex issue,â? he said. â??Why is it, that something as sophisticated as media consumption always get relegated to an oversimplified spat between print and online? Why must it always be a case of either or? Is it just possible that the consumer is capable of multi-tasking; is capable of consuming a multitude of media and that it need not necessarily be just online?”

#14 Ted Dawson
December/22/2009
@ 11:07 am

Steve, I remember when we questioned the value of colorized daily comics. Reed-Brennan was charging an extra $100+ a page to offer colored comics (no $ going to creators). Their website said color sells newspapers. Rick Kirkman contacted them and asked if there were any facts to verify that claim. There were none, and they removed the claim. I don’t think they convey that to newspaper clients, though.

#15 Ted Dawson
December/22/2009
@ 11:16 am

Sorry, I meant the WSJ circulation increased.

#16 Graham Nolan
December/22/2009
@ 12:11 pm

“Sorry for the inconvenience”?
That’s the problem with newspapers today…it’s inconvenient for them to make a profit.
They still don’t get it.

#17 Milt Priggee
December/22/2009
@ 2:16 pm

Why must it always be a case of either or? Is it just possible that the consumer is capable of multi-tasking; is capable of consuming a multitude of media and that it need not necessarily be just online?�

Ted-
sad to say- yes, it MUST be ‘either or’ but ONLY because print has abdicated it’s monopoly of the art of cartooning, specifically and news in generral. The consumer is very capable of multi-tasking, it’s the print managers who are unable to even manage any tasking whatsoever.

Instead of exploiting it’s strengths for maximum profit, print has done the COMPLETE opposite and is reaping the consequences.

Print can not save itself because they don’t know how to generate money. They don’t even know their own product, content or consumer. They only know how to service what’s left of their shrinking market. A market that has been shrinking ever since the dawning of commercial radio.

Now with the Internet that feeds on what print can not stomach, the light at the end of their tunnel is picking up speed.

#18 Dan Reynolds
December/22/2009
@ 2:28 pm

Kind of ironic when the syndicates are getting the rejection letters.

#19 Robert George
December/22/2009
@ 4:27 pm

“The question isnâ??t how many cartoonists will be printed in print newspapers in 2010. The question is, how many will be in 2020. The newspaper shakeout is likely to continue to get worse before it gets betterâ??because the economy overall will likely continue to get worse and worse.

Iâ??m optimistic about print because, even in failed states like Iraq, print newspapers thrive. Of course, the Internet will continue to mature as a secondary (emphasis on secondary) market for cartoons.”

I guess my concern is that newspapers in Iraq are thriving because it IS a failed state, has spotty web access, and has a variety of political faction that each need a publishing arm. With the dramatic economic growth the 2 billion people in China and India have experienced you would expect a global newspaper growth of higher than the 8% Ted Dawson quoted if print were the future.

Obviously, zines and underground papers are important in repressive regimes because the web can be switched off, but that hardly is a market for comic strips, and I don’t think any industry wants to make betting on the economic collapse and descent into fascism of the US its plan for the future.

#20 Dan Reynolds
December/22/2009
@ 6:36 pm

The “King” is dead – and so is the “prints”.

If you’re going to go fishing, use the inter”net”. It works better than wrapping one dead fish in a newspaper.

#21 Dave Stephens
December/22/2009
@ 8:00 pm

Ummm… Weren’t the newspapers hemorrhaging cartoonists during SUCCESSFUL economic times? But next time, it’ll be different, is that what Ted Rall is saying? Ok, so how does that work, hm?

#22 Tom Wood
December/22/2009
@ 8:50 pm

We just need Demand Media to start contracting work out to cartoonists to draw up cartoons for every imaginable situation. Then people can search for a cartoon to match their need for a giggle on any particular topic. Just imagine, thousands of cartoonists pumping out millions of cartoons at $5 a pop.

j/k

I did ask them if they had a place in their ecosystem for animated content, and got a rejection within 30 minutes. So their rejection system is at least efficient.

#23 Rich Diesslin
December/22/2009
@ 8:57 pm

I’m thinking that at the point we are at technologically, the infrastructure is in place to re-create the internet within days if the government turned off their control points, at least in the US. Iran apparently couldn’t shut off twitter (slightly different issue, but similar point).

#24 Ted Dawson
December/23/2009
@ 9:31 am

One thing we will never know is what effect it had on newspapers and cartoonists when the syndicates and folks like Daryl Cagle started putting all comics online for free. Is it simply coincidence that this coincides with the bleakest period ever for comic strips and editorial cartoons? The one — and only one — thing that made newspapers unique was taken away.

Would it have any effect if this were reversed? Possibly not. People don’t think of comics as unique to newspapers any more, and

#25 Scott Jenkins (Jynksie)
December/31/2009
@ 12:26 pm

“One thing we will never know is what effect it had on newspapers and cartoonists when the syndicates and folks like Daryl Cagle started putting all comics online for free”—Dawson

You have that backwards I believe, webcomics have been on the rise since the turn of the millennium and the syndicates and the Daryl Cagles actually arrived late to the show. What they could be blamed for was a lack of foresight in how to transfer the success of the printed comic into the web medium (although I think Mr. Cagle has caught on, so don’t blame him for riding the wave of change!).

While cottage industry webcomics were beginning to thrive under the notion of free content in exchange for merchandising sales to fuel their income, the syndicates seemed to not want to change their business model and adapt to the changes of the digital era. The syndicates let their clients down by not fluidly adapting and thus have left these creators at a disadvantage. The money is made off the merchandising, not the first run comics themselves, thats basic comics 101. The “free” online comic is your promotional tool, it’s to bad that doesn’t sink in with print creators.

Based on a lot of comments and jabs coming from (some) print comic creators, they seem just as stubborn to embrace change from print to digital by seething their anger at the webcomic creators who have found a way to succeed and to me, that’s a kind of green thats not healthy for your survival.

Stop blaming others for a medium that is evolving and instead, be part of the evolution that is unfolding and jump in and add your influence to the mix. My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that syndicates aren’t needed anymore, but online merchandising houses are very much the future of comics, who are now part of the online era (think Topatoco).

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