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University of Texas cartoonist Stephanie Eisner learns her lesson

Reporting Texas, a student publication from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, has a favorable follow up article to the Stephanie Eisner controversy earlier this spring with her Trayvon Martin cartoon that sparked a campus and national uproar. Her cartoon appeared in The Daily Texan and was meant as a commentary on the media coverage of the Martin tragedy, but its execution brought controversy.

But despite being removed from the roster of Daily Texan cartoonists, Eisner, a 19-year-old who just finished her first year at UT, wrote in an email that the experience has made her a wiser cartoonist, a position that “fulfills a very important and unique niche in journalism.”

While the furor over the shooting case and the cartoon it inspired has faded, professional editorial cartoonists said that the incident highlighted important, timeless lessons about subjective journalism, especially in the age of the Internet: how to navigate the fine line between opinion and insensitivity, free speech and thoughtful editing.

Along with Stephanie, Reporting Texas talks to Ben Sargent and David Horsey for their reactions.

Community Comments

#1 Peter Kurilecz
June/22/2012
@ 2:39 pm

“how to navigate the fine line between opinion and insensitivity, free speech and thoughtful editing”

haven’t seen too many ed cartoonists who are concerned about insensitivity in my lifetime. they generally skewer just about everyone.
This person has learned that there are some sacred cows that an ed cartoonist just can not touch

#2 Donald Rex Jr
June/22/2012
@ 9:05 pm

Another one bites the dust. And so young.

#3 Carl Moore
June/22/2012
@ 10:16 pm

Stefanie Eisner says she has learned from this incident that she needs to be more careful about offending readers (meaning minorities) with her cartoons. No, Stefanie, your cartoon was perfectly legitimate. You didn’t need to apologize for anything in that cartoon (other than the fact it’s badly drawn) because the message of the cartoon is true – the MSM just loves a story where a racist white guy (a “white” Hispanic according to the NY Times) guns down an innocent black kid with a cherubic face for no other reason than he was black.

Hmm, as more and more information comes out about this case, that oh-so-deliciously simple and satisfying story to liberals has gotten more and more ridiculous as time goes by.

As for using the word “colored,” – which so upsets so many – is, in my judgment, also appropriate to use in the cartoon because it conveys the condescending, pat-on-the-head attitude toward blacks so prevalent among MSM liberal journalists.

No, Stefanie, you have absolutely nothing to apologize for, period. And if you’re intent on being an editorial cartoonist, the lesson to take away from this incident is ask yourself if your controversial cartoon is truthful. If it is – and this one is – get a thick skin because the PC crowd and the race hustlers are going to come after you.

#4 Mike Peterson
June/24/2012
@ 3:15 am

Yes. That’s what she learned. That’s it exactly.

#5 Terry LaBan
June/25/2012
@ 9:03 am

Lucky for Ms. Eisner, Carl Moore has her back. Sounds like they deserve each other. By the way, I’d love to know exactly what information Carl thinks has come out in the Trayvon Martin case that’s confirmed the shooter’s version of the events. The guy’s parole was, after all, just revoked for lying to the court.

#6 Donald Rex Jr
June/25/2012
@ 11:26 am

Ms Eisner draws perfectly well, and in a refreshingly original manner. I seriously doubt her cartoon in question offended anyone with any perspective on the case. Anyway it made no judgment or even comment on the case itself, only on the absurd and incompetent media reportage the first day or two after the incident.

I can’t imagine what bearing cheating on a bond declaration has on the events that preceeded and necessitated that bond. It is curious thst Ms Eisner was wise enough to stay well away from these distinctions, but so many who read her work project them on her in their comments here at TDC.

#7 Mike Peterson
June/26/2012
@ 3:22 am

As the psychiatrist declared in Fawlty Towers, “I’m on holiday!”

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