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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 03/26/2009

Spare the Editors, Save the World

By Michael Cavna

Morning, Cartoon Nation...

Here at Comic Riffs, we've spent many months mourning the decline -- layoff by buyout by layoff -- of the Newspaper Political Cartoonist. But of course, as some newspapers slash their staffs by 10, 20, 30 percent (see, "Journal-Constitution, Atlanta" and "Chronicle, Houston" this week), also being cut at an alarming rate are the number of professionals around to closely EDIT those political cartoonists.

Take, for example, this editorial cartoon by David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. The caricatures are rather canny, and the idea is timely enough. But for me, as both a cartoonist and an editor, typo'ing a name as well-known as "Bill MAHER" ruins the entire effect of the joke.


Now, I'm not here to throw stones and smirk. Typos are an unfortunate hazard of the business (on deadline with a cartoon, I once typo'd "Napolean" Bonaparte -- my editor caught it, to my deep gratitude). The issue here is: When there aren't enough eagle-eyed pros around -- the kinds of seen-it-all line editors and copy editors who once donned green eyeshades -- such mistakes are more likely to occur.

As the ranks of trained newspaper pros shrink, so does the likelihood that such mistakes will be caught. But the fact remains: We ALL need an editor. Or three.

(Side note: Having met both Jon Stewart and Bill Maher up-close and personal-like, I must say: The Stewart caricature is considerably stronger than the "Mahr" one.)


Comic Riffs's reading list this morning also includes this blogpost on New Yorker cartoons and Judaism, posted on's religion blog. Reaction? I'm all ears. ... And speaking of cuts within journalism, word comes that Brenda Starr will be put on furlough this Saturday. Dialogue spoiler: B. Babbitt Bottomline will call Brenda into his office to deliver the bad news: "I can't afford to pay you anymore." No word on whether as a result, "Brenda Starr" will see typos popping up in its copy..

By Michael Cavna  | March 26, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Michael, so, can we NOT spare the same Editors who want to whack the comics out of the paper. Like the one who has it out for Judge Parker? Editors like to edit, which usually means "cut".

Posted by: catman2530 | March 26, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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