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.
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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