Daryl Cagle Daryl Cagle, 6/30/2008 [Archive]

Editorial Cartoonists Convention in San Antonio

I just added three more cartoons to the George Carlin at the Pearly Gates Yahtzee below.

Here's a good looking batch of editorial cartoonists, from left to right, Dick Locher, Mike Lester, Adam Zyglis, Bruce Plante, Jeff Parker, Steve Kelley and me.

I'm in San Antonio for the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. The convention had the smallest turnout in memory, as cash-strapped newspapers are no longer paying for cartoonists to attend conventions, and the cartoonists worried about their financial prospects in uncertain times. The AAEC is having money troubles too. I'm sorry to see the way things are going - but the convention was fun, and it is always great to see old friends and commiserate. I'll post more about the convention in coming days.

One of the seminars included a juror and a board member from the Pulitzer Prize committee, talking about their process for picking the Pulitzers for editorial cartoonists. It was interesting, and troubling, to see these guys struggle with the transition of readers from newspapers to the web, clinging to their old notions. Only newspaper cartoonists are eligible for Pulitzer Prizes, but the Pulitzer board wants to acknowledge the internet, so they will consider cartoonists who work on the web for their newspaper sites and also have cartoons printed on paper ­ that led to the unpopular choices last year, of animated web cartoons from newspaper cartoonists for the winner and two runners up.

Of-course, the top news sites are not newspaper web sites, with the top three, Yahoo News, MSNBC.com and Google News leading the way, and with newspaper sites far behind. The top animated political cartoonists often have no association with newspaper sites, like acclaimed cartoonist Mark Fiore. With newspapers dropping their cartoonists, most editorial cartoonists will soon we working primarily on the web. These Pulitzer guys didn't seem to have a good grasp of modern cartooning.

Newspaper people cling to the idea that they are "transitioning" to the web, as they pour resources into their web sites, but newspapers are marginal players on the web, and I don't see anything on the internet that stands a chance of replacing the revenue newspapers are losing in advertising. Much of the discussion at the convention was about the hopeless situation newspapers find themselves in, and the poor decisions that are going into the "transition to the web." It is easy to see the old thinking that goes into these lousy decisions, listening to the guys from the Pulitzer board discuss their own "transition to the web."

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