Jim Romenesko has the details on a small WTF by editorial cartoonists after the The New York Times offered to run an original editorial cartoon in the Sunday The Week in Review starting February 26. At issue is the Times’ offer to pay $250 to the selected cartoonist, but requires all entrants to submit original, finished work with only a hope that their cartoon is selected.
According to Romenesko Ted Rall penned the response that was signed by most of the cartoonists approached.
The current proposal has the effect of putting scores of cartoonists to work every week. But only one will have a (small) chance to be published. Like an old-fashioned “shape up” of longshoremen, this is demoralizing and will likely lead to a diminished number and quality of submissions over time. This works neither for we cartoonists nor for The Times. We suggest that you either commission cartoonists whose work you like directly, or return to the previous approach of running syndicated material which do not require additional work on the part of editorial cartoonists who are struggling mightily in the current economic environment.
Furthermore, the proposed payment is extremely low given the low chances of publication, the requirement that an artist clear his or her Friday schedule, and-most of all-the huge circulation of The New York Times, the largest newspaper in the United States. The market standard for a reprint for a newspaper of your size is $250-not for original content. An original cartoon for The Times should pay closer to $1500 to $2000. And the rate should be even higher if you maintain the New Yorker-style submission policy, to which many cartoonists have long objected and boycotted.
CLARIFICATION: I’ve received an email from a reader who informs me that the response penned by Ted, quoted above, is not an official response by the AAEC or by editorial cartoonists en mass. Apologies to anyone who interpreted as such.