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AAEC looks at ethics guidelines for cartooning

Bob Andelman talks to American Association of Editorial Cartooning President John Cole about plagiarism cases within the editorial cartooning community. John mentions that the association is looking at whether some kind of ethics guidelines is needed within the group or even what the role of the association should be in cases of alleged plagiarism.

“There is no conventional, set standard,” according to Cole. “When people say ‘plagiarism,’ plagiarism in the classic sense is one person directly knocking off another person’s work and passing it off as their own. Then there are degrees of that. We’re discussing putting together some sort of background. There is a long history; there are examples. We’re working with some of our members who are versed in the history of cartooning. At what point does tradition and influence bleed over into theft?”

Bob asked me the same question when we spoke for this story. I assumed staff cartoonist had to live up to any ethics guidelines of their newspaper employer. As I thought about it later, the AAEC membership at this point has more freelance cartoonists than staff cartoonists on its rolls. Perhaps some clear guidelines and definitions of what plagiarism would be beneficial.

Bob also spoke to another Ohio cartoonist Chip Bok about the Jeff Stahler case.

He’s got video and audio of each of the three interviews.

Community Comments

#1 Jeff Darcy
December/8/2011
@ 12:48 pm

In his comments Chip talks about the deadline pressure Stahler
may have been under as a possible explanation.
From where I sit as someone who’s going into their 25th year
as an Ohio Editorial cartoonist, I think that’s a bit of a lame
excuse with all the material in Ohio,Columbus and nationaly to
comment on right now. So much is happening in the news
my drawing table is over flowing with ideas that may never make
into my paper because there’s not enough days in the week.

I would find it hard to believe that any cartoonist working in
the State capital with Kasich as governor and Buckeye scandals
and elected officials like Boehner, Portman ,Kucinich…and
a Presidential election would be under pressure to come up with
ideas. If they are, with all the material in the news to draw from,
then maybe they’re in the wrong business.

What I find shocking about the latest accusation, is that this
latest cartoon was drawn after the Borowitz accusation. And
that one was drawn after the previously unknown Mike Lester
accusation. And it’s clear that Jeff Stahler has been capable of coming up with award winning ideas on his own in the past.
So I just don’t get it.

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