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NCS responds to NY Post comic page drop

Tom Richmond, President of the National Cartoonists Society, has posted a letter to the New York Post regarding their decision to drop their comics page. Full letter below:

Dear New York Post,

It is with great disappointment, and no small amount of confusion, that I learned of the New York Post?s recent decision to entirely drop the comics page from its publication. Being that the National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists, among whose members are the creators of the majority of the comics that used to grace your comics page, the reason for the disappointment is obvious. The confusion is another matter.

We all know the role of newspapers and print media in this electronically interconnected world has changed. They used to be the prominent source of breaking news and opinion on that news in this country. That is no longer the case thanks to the 24/7 nature of the Internet and the continued evolving of how the public consumes its media and entertainment. Today breaking news is old news by the time the newspaper hits the doorstep or the corner newsstand. Handheld devices have untethered the internet from our desktop computers and allowed us to take it along on the bus, the train, into the coffee shop, or wherever we wish to read about what?s going on in the world. Daily newspapers especially have a lot of stiff competition for reader?s eyes these days.

That?s where the confusion sets in concerning your decision to drop the comics page. The one strength newspapers and other print publications still have is that they can collect and present perhaps less timely but still relevant expanded news, opinion, and entertainment, written by vetted professionals into a convenient publication of great interest to a local market. Focusing on entertainment and more than a 140 character story on topics that readers still care about seems to me to be the best hope for the continued survival of newspapers. The daily comics are one of the most popular and read sections of newspapers, yet they have been treated like an afterthought for a long time. Despite being a truly American art form with a long and rich tradition and a tremendous following, newspapers have been shrinking the comics to postage-stamp size for years now, and have been reluctant or completely against adding in new, fresh cartoons that might have interest and relevance to younger readers. Now, we have a major newspaper dropping the comics entirely? perhaps one of the few sections that is read by virtually everyone who opens the paper. That seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face. It?s like a restaurant dropping one of its most popular items, one that keeps people coming back to their establishment, because it costs a bit more to make than the rest of the menu.

No one disputes that newspapers are struggling in the face of rising costs and declining readership. However, I don?t believe it is a smart business move to eliminate, in the name of cutting costs, one of the most popular and read parts of a newspaper. I hope you reconsider your decision and reinstate the comics page. It is one of the sections readers enjoy the most, and isn?t providing things your readers want to read the first priority of any publication?

Tom Richmond
National Cartoonists Society

Community Comments

#1 Jeff Knurek
@ 5:36 pm

Well said, Tom. Papers don’t seem to understand that they will lose more money in lost subscriptions by cutting these features than they will ever save by making the cut. It will prove itself out. It always does. But to what end?

#2 Mike peters
@ 6:11 pm

Tom, god love you, man. You said it perfectly . I love this profession journalism and they constantly cut their own throat. thank you so much for for putting in to words.

#3 Darryl Heine
@ 7:05 pm

I betting the New York Daily News picks up some New York Post comics.

#4 Keith Brown
@ 9:23 pm

Maybe they (i.e. newspapers in general) should re-think their advertising model and let specific advertisers sponsor specific cartoons. There could be a bug or line of text under the toon saying this cartoon brought to you be Acme Co. Etc. It’s all about money, right? I think advertisers would jump at the chance and that would help offset the cost to the paper, Maybe they would even start printing them larger again and have more pages of toons if the pages actually generated some revenue. Just a thought.

#5 Joe Engesser
@ 11:30 pm

Proud of you, Tom! Sure hope they reconsider and others get the message as well.

#6 Jeff Knurek
@ 10:54 am

Great idea, Keith!

#7 Tom Stemmle
@ 12:42 pm

As a proud member of the NCS, I must say that our leadership is in extremely fine hands with Tom at the helm. His letter to the NY POST was on the mark and stated perfectly! I hope it will make the POST higher-ups take particular note!

#8 Keith Brown
@ 1:02 pm

Thanks Jeff. I’m just a nobody, but maybe somebody here with some juice could suggest that to the right people, whoever they are.

#9 Dale Stout
@ 3:49 pm

You are onto something. I could see Snoopy and the Met Life blimp versus The Red Baron Pizza plane :)

#10 Lindsay Foyle
@ 4:52 pm

There have been many newspapers which have reduced or dropped the comics. Not one has lifted circulation by doing so. It is strange to watch newspaper editors do things which damage circulation and then say they were forced to do it because of a declining readership.

#11 Keith Brown
@ 5:13 pm

Sure, why not? Seems to be the age we live in so we’d might as well roll with it. :)

#12 Darryl Heine
@ 4:24 pm

I hope this week:
a) The New York Post reinstates its 1 page of comics.
b) The New York Daily News picks up at least 1 of the dropped New York Post comics.

#13 Tom Falco
@ 9:28 am

Loved the letter. Especially the part where Tom mentions that newspapers “have been reluctant or completely against adding in new, fresh cartoons that might have interest and relevance to younger readers.”

As the readers die out, so will the newspapers if they don’t do something now to grab younger readers. The editors just don’t seem to care, you would think just for the sake of keeping their jobs they would care.

#14 Steve Skelton
@ 11:21 am

They are just racing towards irrelevance, and they can’t seem to get there fast enough.

#15 Gerry Mooney
@ 3:05 pm

Has there been any word from the Post as to why this decision was made? I wonder what their argument would be?

#16 robert rooney
@ 6:20 pm

sorry im late to the party in adding my comments, i miss the comics in the ny post .i also think they would have been professional enough to given us, their readers a heads up. it was like they just said, ” suck it up suckers.” they could have done thi s better!

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