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Rick Stromoski slams comic polls

NCS President Rick Stromoski took issue with the Hartford Courant’s latest cartoon poll that I mentioned last Friday and wrote a letter to the editor arguing that the polls were flawed and that editors ought select the comic strips themselves.

Here is the letter in its entirety.

Getting cartoonists as a group to agree on anything is like herding squirrels. We view the world in myriad ways through our own personal lenses. One thing that does unify us, however, is the antiquated and grossly unfair way that features editors choose new comics through polling readers.

This system has built-in flaws on several levels.

First, newspaper readers tend to be associated with an older demographic. Older readers tend to vote more often and for the favorite strips they’ve been reading – sometimes for decades. Younger readers tend not to participate in comics polls, so you’re left with a skewed result.

Even if you had 90 percent participation from readers, polling is a lousy way to choose a feature. No contributors in any other part of the newspaper are subjected to this arbitrary and unfair practice. No newspaper asks its readers to vote on a columnist or sports writer based on two or three lines of their writing.

Features editors make decisions daily as to what goes into the newspaper, yet they abdicate this responsibility when it comes time to choose a comic. The readership and professional cartoonists would be better served if editors did the job they were hired to do and made the best choice of comic strips for their newspaper.

I can certainly understand and agree with Rick’s arguments, but what I dislike most about the polls is how easily they can be manipulated allowing for multiple votes, etc.

E&P also mention this story.

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Community Comments

#1 Pat
October/12/2006
@ 2:37 am

I couldn’t agree more with Rick. You NCS cartoonists are represented by a mensch.

I’m a big comics fan and I’ve followed some of these online polls for a while. The impression I come away with is a lot of these editors don’t really give a damn what comics are in their papers; they’re just trying to keep their own jobs. So they turn over the responsibility of comic picking to “polls”, however flawed, so they personally can’t be held accountable for any mistake.

Look at this Hartford poll. I mean, really, how can say you “hate” an entire comic strip when you only see ONE sample? It’s completely absurd on its face, and thus a useless way to pick comics.

#2 Pat
October/11/2006
@ 8:37 pm

I couldn’t agree more with Rick. You NCS cartoonists are represented by a mensch.

I’m a big comics fan and I’ve followed some of these online polls for a while. The impression I come away with is a lot of these editors don’t really give a damn what comics are in their papers; they’re just trying to keep their own jobs. So they turn over the responsibility of comic picking to “polls”, however flawed, so they personally can’t be held accountable for any mistake.

Look at this Hartford poll. I mean, really, how can say you “hate” an entire comic strip when you only see ONE sample? It’s completely absurd on its face, and thus a useless way to pick comics.

#3 THELMA CULVER
July/23/2010
@ 2:20 pm

THANK YOU, MR. S., FOR TODAY’S “REUNION” CARTOON. We of our small, now-defunct, Chester High School (in Chester, CT) will observe our school’s 79th ANNUAL SCHOOL REUNION THIS YEAR — and today’s cartoon will be on display.

#4 THELMA CULVER
July/23/2010
@ 8:20 am

THANK YOU, MR. S., FOR TODAY’S “REUNION” CARTOON. We of our small, now-defunct, Chester High School (in Chester, CT) will observe our school’s 79th ANNUAL SCHOOL REUNION THIS YEAR — and today’s cartoon will be on display.

#5 Gerry Mooney
July/23/2010
@ 6:35 pm

Pat nails it:”The impression I come away with is a lot of these editors don?t really give a damn what comics are in their papers; they?re just trying to keep their own jobs.”

What evidence have you ever seen that a paper cares what cartoons it runs? They have no idea who reads them, which ones are good and when to try new ones.

More proof of the raw power of cartoons! They can turn grown men into sniveling, spineless jellyfish!

#6 Gerry Mooney
July/23/2010
@ 12:35 pm

Pat nails it:”The impression I come away with is a lot of these editors don?t really give a damn what comics are in their papers; they?re just trying to keep their own jobs.”

What evidence have you ever seen that a paper cares what cartoons it runs? They have no idea who reads them, which ones are good and when to try new ones.

More proof of the raw power of cartoons! They can turn grown men into sniveling, spineless jellyfish!

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