Dec. 12, 2005
Today is Black Ink Monday.
Nearly 100 editorial cartoonists from the U.S. and Canada are protesting drastic cutbacks in the newspaper industry the best way they know how — by mocking the perpetrators. The results are now online at editorialcartoonists.com.
Since Ben Franklin and colonial times, the editorial cartoon has been one of the most visible and popular parts of the daily paper. However, recent changes within the newspaper industry have placed this American institution at risk.
Over the last 20 years, the number of cartoonists on the staff of daily newspapers nationwide has been cut in half. In the last month alone, the Tribune Company (owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and a half-dozen other prominent papers) has forced out well-known and award-winning cartoonists at the LA Times and Baltimore Sun, eliminating their positions entirely.
Now, dozens of cartoonists from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists have decided to band together and speak out against these recent cuts, unleashing their biting commentary on the current state of affairs in the newspaper business — with a specific emphasis on corporate downsizing. Their intention is to use the protest to draw attention to, not just the loss of individual cartooning jobs, but the wholesale weakening of the daily newspaper and journalism by corporate interests.
In an open letter to Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons, AAEC President Clay Bennett recently wrote: “There are few journalists in a newsroom who can define the tone and identity of a publication like an editorial cartoonist does. By discarding those who make a newspaper unique, you rob it of its character. By robbing a newspaper of its character, you steal its spirit.”
For more information on Black Ink Monday, or the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, please contact:
Christian Science Monitor, AAEC President
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, AAEC President-Elect
Chattanooga Times Free Press
news editor, editorialcartoonists.com