Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Our Newspapers Failing?

Washington Post | Are Too Many Newspaper Comic Polls a Sham?
It's the ugly little secret that, within the newspaper comics industry and among avid comics followers, is nobody's secret at all:

Namely, that the frequently used Newspaper Comics Reader Poll might be long-standing, but it is hardly upstanding. It has walked on the wrong side of the statistical tracks far too often, stirring so much scorn, skepticism and controversy that it might as well wear a scarlet "A" -- for "adulterated accuracy."
The writer, Michael Cavana, goes on to quote Stephan Pastis, creator of "Pearls Before Swine", which I hear is a comic strip of some kind:
And that cheating appears to have pervaded not only the voting, but in the comments newspapers solicit about comic strips on their site. This would all be 'fun and games' but for the fact that many editors actually rely on these polls, and therefore, it determines our living.
As if to highlight the importance of this, Cavana later talks to Frank Rizzo, the comics editor at the local fishwrapper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As readers know, the AJC "recently polled readers online because it was trying to eliminate a half-page of comics." And they did. Now they publish an economical single page of comics at postage-stamp size.

It has always puzzled me that newspapers, while moaning about bad business and low readership, are so eager to stop doing things that no other medium does


John C. said...

I don't see what his problem is; if he has his own site for his comic (which is frankly not very funny), he could solicit his readers the same way as, say, Bill Holbrook did for "Kevin and Kell"; if he has a big enough reader base he will do well in such polls. If he doesn't, well, I suppose he could ask for a government bailout...

Anonymous said...

" eager to stop doing things that no other medium does." Well, the AJC does still publish Mike Luckovich's cartoons. That's something I have a hard time picturing any other medium doing. :)