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News & Observes rolls back comic selection

The Raleigh News & Observer has announced that it is dropping nine features – a reversal of a decision made in 2008 to expand their comic offerings due to overwhelming reader demand. Back in 2008, the features editor at the time, Thad Ogburn, ran a poll after cutting three strips, but after receiving nearly 8,000 responses, he added six new features and brought back the three that were cut taking the total number of features to 42.

He wrote back then:

Adding comics wasn’t our original plan when we conducted a reader comics poll last month. We thought we might add three strips and lose three. But then we saw the overwhelming response to the survey – 7,910 votes online and by paper ballot.

You folks care – and care deeply – about your comics. So, we thought, why not just add more?

Now the paper is saying 42 features is too many. In an announcement they wrote:

Our comics lineup had grown over the last few years into one of the largest in the country for a paper our size. As we looked at the big picture, we concluded that revising the lineup to make room for our daily puzzles would allow us to expand other content.

They also announced that they are adding Cul de Sac and Reply All.

The features that are on the chopping block are: (features with * were added in 2008). Only two from this list will stay.

Agnes
Arlo & Janis
* Candorville
Curtis
Deflocked
Hi & Lois
Hagar the Horrible
Non Sequitur
Rose is Rose
Sally Forth
Scary Gary
* Sherman’s Lagoon
* Tundra

Let’s just hope another 8,000 readers email the editor.

Community Comments

#1 Anne Hambrock
March/28/2012
@ 9:33 am

Wow. That list has a LOT of giants on it. We better hope they get a lot of blowback for this move or they may wind up taking the lead for an ugly trend.

Obviously they are not the first paper in the last five years to scale back their comics, but I don’t remember seeing a list of features with quite this magnitude on the chopping block.

#2 David Jones
March/28/2012
@ 11:18 am

I bet the two on the list that’ll stay are Hagar and Hi & Lois.

That is a great list and I hate seeing them get chopped. Time to discover a new world for our strips.

#3 Mike Peterson
March/29/2012
@ 3:47 am

“We discovered that you really like this feature and are going to offer less of it.”

Gotta love this industry.

#4 RYAN BROWN
March/29/2012
@ 8:01 am

Every time I see news like this I hear that little voice in the back of my mind say, ?why are you pursuing a comic strip career when newspapers are looking for more things to drop than add? Just admit that what you?re doing is really a waste of time?. Then that other voice that still has big dreams tells the first voice to ?shut up?, and for me to keep trying. It?s war going on within my conscience, but since I really have nothing to lose I fight on.

#5 David Jones
March/29/2012
@ 8:50 am

LOL Ryan…

I have pretty much decided this cartooning thing for me is just going to remain a hobby. I wish the masses would embrace my wit but with all the newspapers dropping strips, I think I am going to have to settle for three or four people reading my strip, Charmy’s Army, each day.

My voices are always telling me that I stink. Never listen to the voices…. listen to your heart… and enjoy your talent even when no one else does. Make yourself happy and you will find TRUE success.

#6 Roger Shaffer
April/9/2012
@ 10:53 am

Old time Comics lover here, (old= Katzenjamer kids, Mandrake, Nancy,)

The N & O has relented a little bit.”Non Sequitar, Scary Gary,
Tundra, Sally Forth, & Candorville” are coming back.
They are dropping “F Minus, FB or FW (rerun) and Reply All” will not stick.

I understand that print media is shrinking, but fail to understand how offering subscribers less content, shoddy editing, and poor production practices is the fault of the internet ‘s advances.

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