The Missoulian: No Opinion on the Comics Page

The Missoulian (Big Sky Country) has decided to rid its comic pages of opinion strips.

Effective after Sunday, Jan. 5, the Missoulian is ending its subscription to the comics “Doonesbury” and “Mallard Fillmore.”

Many readers have long complained about both strips. The leading complaints about “Doonesbury” [Andrews McMeel Syndication] these days is that the daily strips are reruns from decades ago and have lost their relevance. As for “Mallard Fillmore,” [King Features Syndicate] even those who like the strip appear to agree that its political content is better suited for the Opinion pages than for the Comics page — and the Opinion page already has a strong stable of editorial cartoonists.

At the same time, we’ve heard complaints that the comic strips are too small and therefore difficult to read. Eliminating “Doonesbury” and “Mallard Fillmore” will free up more space to run those strips in larger print.

So two strips cut and not replaced, making room to enbiggen the remaining strips.


Also interesting is what the editor’s column explains at its start:

After many years of faithfully publishing the award-winning, nationally syndicated columns of conservative-minded George Will and liberal-leaning Leonard Pitts Jr., the Missoulian is calling it quits.

I find the reasons intriguing.

Our decision was prompted by a recent announcement from the syndicate that distributes George Will’s column that his columns could no longer be made available to readers online.

After October 2019 the Washington Post Writers Group and George Will no longer allowed his column online; in order to read it you had to buy a newspaper.

As for Leonard Pitts, Jr.:

The syndicate that supplies Pitts’s column [Tribune Content Agency] charges extra for online publication rights. With more of our readership transitioning from print to tablets and mobile devices, it no longer makes sense for the Missoulian to continue to pay for print-only content.

I wonder if print-only rules and extra-for-online-use charges will expand to comic strips.

Read The Missoulian’s Opinion Editor’s note to readers.


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