May 23rd, 2011
Does the ‘Net need newspapers? Cartoonists think so
By Hagit Limor, 2010-11 SPJ President
Ever since the Internet launched new media, nay-sayers have predicted the death of the older, long established mainstream press. Now, some in that press are fighting back in unique fashion. They’re sharpening their most biting sarcasm to launch a massive one-day campaign across the country, on the editorial page.
This Sunday, May 29, you’ll open your local paper and likely see a cartoon that captures the following thought: Without the original reporting of daily newspapers, the Web would have little to say. That’s actually kinder than the assessment of one persistent and hard-working Sharon Geltner, pushing what’s officially called “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News Day.” In her words, cartoonists will be simultaneously publishing cartoons “about how the Web is mostly useless without original reporting generated by newspapers.” Yes, I know we have members who will argue that point – and for good reason – but that’s why we have editorial pages, for a multiplicity of opinions.
“Net Needs News Day” was borne of frustration at a time of aggregation and redefining of journalists’ job responsibilities. Geltner says the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists asked its members to participate “to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of journalism and its vital role to information on the worldwide Web.” She says AAEC is publicizing this but it’s not an official AAEC event. Cartoonists are participating on their own.
Geltner reports editorial cartoonists from coast to coast will participate, including Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Breen of the San Diego Union Tribune, Jim Morin of the Miami Herald and Chan Lowe of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Newspapers without a cartoonist can get free cartoons that day by contacting Geltner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Weeklies may publish the cartoons later, through June 18.
On the SPJ YouTube channel is a video (not by SPJ, though) on the “Net Needs News Day” topic.
The cause also has a Facebook page, called “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung.”