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Sporting chance for cartoonists

March 13, 2013 in Events, News

North Stand strip by Huw Aaron

© Huw Aaron @ Procartoonists.org

The Procartoonists.org members Huw Aaron and Nick Newman are among the nominees in the sports cartoonist category at the 2012 Sports Journalism Awards.

Huw is nominated for his strip North Stand (above, full-size version here) in The Rugby Paper, and Nick for Sunday Times and Private Eye cartoons. Other nominees are Paul Wood, Kerber and Black, Matt Pritchett and Russell Herneman.

We wish all the nominees the very best.

Opinion: Beware digital challenges to the paper of record

January 30, 2013 in Comment, General, News

Scarfe cartoon of Netanyahu @ procartoonists

Gerald Scarfe cartoon of Benjamin Netanyahu @ procartoonists.org

The Sunday Times has removed the Gerald Scarfe cartoon from all of its digital editions following the controversy about its print publication.

The retrospective removal of the cartoon reported by Press Gazette this morning challenges a traditional role fulfilled by printed journalism as a paper of record. The removal of the image changes the paper of record, post publication.

We believe that such “digital cleansing” is harmful to the expression of opinion in publishing, in either print or pixel form. If the cartoon was good enough to see the light of day in ink on Sunday 27 January, 2013, then it should exist in the enduring pixelated editions too.

To be clear, we do not think this act of removal is “censorship” – that would have prevented Scarfe’s opinion cartoon being published at all. And the owners and editors of the newspaper also have a right to do as they will with the content they purchase from contracted contributors.

But when retrospective editing of “controversial” published items becomes acceptable practice inside digital newsrooms then we start to worry about access to provocative drawn opinions, and probably also written ones.

Are we right? If you have things to say about this, please do so in the comments below.

  • The Scarfe cartoon was certainly a provocative image, but that is to be expected from a political cartoonist. One of our members, Martin Rowson, helpfully explains why such cartoonists do what they do here.

The cartoonist as endurance athlete

October 4, 2010 in Comment

Marathon cartoon by Nick Newman
In the week when applicants for the London Marathon find out whether they have been successful in securing a place in the 2011 event, Nick Newman, cartoonist for Private Eye and the Sunday Times, tells the Bloghorn why he takes part:

I’ve always had the itch. Since living in London since the early 1980s, and seeing the first London Marathons on television, I always felt that the distance was the pinnacle of human endeavour – after all, the Greek Pheidippides died as a result of running the very first one.

At school, I was the fat boy who tried to get out of all games. The annual steeplechase – 4 miles of muddy terrain – was the source of nightmares. Running was, quite literally, a punishment.

Yet now I “enjoy” nothing more than a 6-mile run. This is, of course, a joke. It’s all hell, pain and regret – instead of warmth, comfort and breakfast. I enjoy it when it stops. So why do I do it?

I started running to try to lose weight. While that worked, I found an unexpected side-effect: solitude. A chance to think. And when I was really thinking, I forgot about how annoying the running was. The result was ideas, jokes, storylines for potential scripts and jokes about running which could be converted into ideas about storylines for potential scripts.

Cartoonists are well primed to run long-distance. It’s lonely and introspective. Road, road, road, dog waste, road – she’s nice – road. You just have to think of something else. Russell Taylor (of Alex fame) wrote an excellent book about his own marathon experience after he ran the New York Marathon. The fact that he wrote a humorous book about it shows how it can stimulate the creative juices, as well as blisters.

My own marathon experience began with me hooking up with a friend who put me in touch with a charity (the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign) which was all too happy to take me on as a potential runner and give me a marathon place – provided I could guarantee £1,500 of sponsorship. This year I ran for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, on a similar basis.

Still, it puts a strain on your loved ones, who weary of the decrepit, bow-legged invalid shuffling round Sainsburys after a 15-miler. Falling asleep spilling your wine down your front doesn’t help either (though, to be honest, I was doing that long before I started running seriously).

The result is a truly life-changing experience. I’ve now run two of the buggers, and I can honestly say they are the most life-affirming events I’ve ever experienced.

This is an extract from an article which is in the running for an appearance in our print magazine, Foghorn, later this year. Bloghorn thanks Nick.

Top spot for cartoons

September 3, 2010 in News

Blair cartoon from The Times by PCOer Morten Morland

The advent of statistics recording visits to web sites has allowed web publishers to see exactly which pages readers head for. Unsurprisingly, many have embraced this technology to show you – the reader – which pages are most popular.

So, I ask you to go to The Times website. Scroll down. No, you don’t have to get past the Great Pay Wall of Murdoch to do this – no small denomination payments are required. Look at the “Most Read” list of sections which are – as you might guess – the paper’s most popular click-through reads.

Of course, I don’t know when you’re reading this but I bet you that coming in the top three with a bullet will be “Cartoons”. I have checked assiduously for the past several weeks. “Cartoons” has been at or near the top spot for almost all of my visits (many times at Number One).

As I write, I am not chastened by the fact that nestling at number 2 is “Top Ten Chinos”.Well, a chap’s got to look the part while perusing the best of cartoon art online. Standards, you know. (Of course, if you want to actually look at the cartoons, you WILL have to pay at this point).

It’s a subject close to the hearts of us cartoonists. The popularity of The Times’ cartoons is, of course, not unrelated to the fact that they boast two fine cartoonists in Peter Brookes and Morten Morland, together with legend-inna-lifetime Gerald Scarfe at the Sunday title.

But it’s not just that. Readers love cartoons. We know that. It’s such a pity that this simple fact doesn’t prevent culls of cartoonists to cut costs at newspapers facing hard times. It seems counter-intuitive to us. For example the loss of almost all cartoon content from The Observer recently was mourned widely. So Bloghorn says hats off to the wildly good taste of Times readers.