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Proposal: Locher award winner gets cash, no trip to AAEC convo

Over on Steve Greenberg’s blog comes news that a proposal is being floated to give future AAEC/John Locher award winners a cash prize instead of the traditional all-expense paid trip to that year’s convention.

Steve wonders if the proposed change is an acknowledgement that the profession is bleak, but then counters why a cash prize is such a bad idea:

Sure, cash is nice, but the young cartoonist who then spends it on a flat-screen TV or whatever loses a potentially life-changing connection with colleagues, and is more likely to veer off onto some other career track and never to be heard from again in this profession.

If we write off the young editorial cartoonists and tell them to go spend a cash award on something else because our field is “dying,” then that “dying” becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Daryl Cagle also weighs in explaining that the new National Cartoonists Society Foundationâ??s Jay Kennedy Memorial Award is modeled after the success of the John Locher Award.

On a somewhat related note, the latest AAEC Newsletter from President Ted Rall writes some of the other tough decisions that will be discussed including whether to transform the AAEC into a guild, merging with the NCS or holding a joint convention with another journalism organization to help reduce costs.

Community Comments

#1 Justin Bilicki
June/26/2009
@ 9:01 am

This saddens me. When I won the Locher Award in 2000, I was given the valuable prize of meeting all of my idols (you know who you are) Both Dick and Mary welcomed me with open arms like family and it was at that exact moment that I felt like a true cartoonist. If it wasn’t for that experience, I probably would’ve stopped drawing editorial cartoons and went to the arcade… It was an experience that I’ll always cherish and couldn’t imagine those memories being reduced down to cash.

#2 Wiley Miller
June/26/2009
@ 9:39 am

First of all, this was a matter for the board of the AAEC, so Steve should not have made this public.

Really bad form, Steve.

Second, the matter is one that was made by Dick and Mary Locher to the board. Since it is called the Locher Award, in honor of Dick and Mary’s son, their wishes should be honored. They have more than earned their place in the profession to not be questioned or second-guessed on this matter. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, it just means you should give them the respect they’ve earned a thousand times over and stay out of it.

#3 JP Trostle
June/26/2009
@ 12:01 pm

I just want to add to what Wiley said, that NO decision whatsoever has been made on this — in fact, it was but one part of a private conversation between the Lochers and their advisory board on the future of the award, and that Steve breached confidentiality by writing about it. Nice journalistic ethics, Steve.

#4 Alan Gardner
June/26/2009
@ 12:28 pm

After being informed that the proposal in question was a private discussion, I’m closing comments. The AAEC board and the Lochers don’t need a larger number of armchair quarterbacks/cartoonist’s opinion until they have thought the matter through themselves.

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