A couple Warren, Ohio newspapers felt the need to let their readers know that the Crankshaft story line last week was not indicative of the state of their newspapers.
Tom Batiuk, author of the syndicated comic strip “Crankshaft” published regularly in the Tribune Chronicle, often strays from humor in his comic strips to bring attention to important, even sometimes tragic, issues.
I’d like to believe the direction Batiuk took in the Crankshaft comic strips last week is intending to bring attention to an issue that is important to our newspaper readers, but I fear that might not be the case. And even if it is, the comic strip’s implications may have been misinterpreted by our readers who might believe, somehow, he was trying to send a message about the future of this newspaper. Let me be clear: On this issue, Crankshaft is not speaking about or for the Tribune Chronicle.
The future of the newspaper industry has triggered much debate in recent years. Indeed, some newspapers have struggled financially. Many newspapers nationwide have made cuts in daily home delivery in order to remain viable.
Absolutely, closures of daily newspapers have a serious and damaging effect on communities. Credible news, like that provided by the Tribune Chronicle and all reputable newspapers, is essential to democracy.
But let me be clear. Last week’s implications in Crankshaft’s comic strips do not apply to the Tribune Chronicle. We have not cut our reporting staff. To the contrary, we actually have added a significant number of reporters and newsroom employees in the last few years.
We still print and deliver our newspapers every day, and hope to continue to do that for the foreseeable future. We are healthy financially, and we have no plans to, as Crankshaft’s characters put it, implement cutbacks.