Dear AAEC members
I didn’t get a chance to respond to one of Dave Astor’s stories about the blogging session at this month’s AAEC convention. The discussion apparently didn’t go well and was received luke warmly.
The most egregious comment, in my opinion, came from David Horsey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who Astor reported as saying, “writing a blog was too “trivial” or entertainment-oriented to be worth a cartoonist’s time.”
It worries me that many editorial cartoonists seem to be infatuated by their own victim status and thus not then able to see (or possibly don’t want to face) a sinking trend in the newspaper industry. In the last week, I’ve read at least four articles about the decline in advertising revenue and circulation. Three of them are linked here:
The one place where things are looking up are online. Biz Report has a story that says online newspaper sites are not only growing in the number of people who visit them, but also the amount of time they stay on the site. That last indicator is key. Recently Nielsen/NetRatings has changed the way they weigh popularity of a site. No longer is it key to have a large audience, but now it’s more important that they linger. So consider this. If your editorial cartoon can be read in seconds, what value to you provide to the newspaper’s online efforts compared to an editorial cartoonist who also keeps a blog or creates animated cartoons which require minutes of attention?
So to those who are still resistant to blogging, animation or other internet efforts I say, “fine, don’t blog; don’t do animate; don’t expect to retire as a staff cartoonist.”