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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 @

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.

Leveson and more cartoonists

December 3, 2012 in Comment, General, News

The post Leveson debate rumbles on, with much talk of regulation, self-regulation and the slighty painful sounding statutory underpinning. So, following on from our earlier round-up of Leveson cartoons, we present further takes on the media story of the year, starting with Morten Morland in The Times.

© Morten Morland. The Times @

© Morten Morland. The Times @

Steve Bright in The Sun has a typically colourful take on the topic of crusading celebrities, in which the cartoonist makes a cameo appearance.

© Steve Bright. The Sun @

© Steve Bright. The Sun @

Matt of the Daily Telegraph has a festive take on Leveson.

© Matt Pritchett. The Daily Telegraph @

© Matt Pritchett. The Daily Telegraph @

Gary Barker in Tribune looks at the fall-out for the key protagonists.

© Gary Barker. Tribune @

© Gary Barker. Tribune @

Martin Rowson in The Guardian suspects that Rupert Murdoch thinks the Leveson report is good for only one thing.

© Martin Rowson. The Guardian @

© Martin Rowson. The Guardian @

Banx in the Financial Times on the notion of, ahem, self-regulation.

© Jeremy Banx. Financial Times @

© Jeremy Banx. Financial Times @

Mac of the Mail imagines a post-regulation media.

© Stan McMurtry. Daily Mail @

© Stan McMurtry. Daily Mail @

Tim Sanders at Socialist Worker Online wonders who is really in charge.

© Tim Sanders. Socialist Worker Online @

© Tim Sanders. Socialist Worker Online @

And, just for the LOLs, and as text-messaging turns 20, an older Leveson cartoon from Alex Hughes.

© Alex Hughes. Tribune @

© Alex Hughes. Tribune @

Leveson and the cartoonists

November 30, 2012 in Comment, General, News

Cartooning has long been associated with the print industry* so it is only natural that the artists have been interested in the Leveson Inquiry report into the Culture, Media and Ethics of the Press. It was delivered yesterday, as Dave Brown of The Independent notes.

© Dave Brown - Independent Leveson cartoon @procartoonists

© Dave Brown. The Independent @

Bob Moran in The Daily Telegraph imagines Lord Justice Leveson receiving his morning paper.

© Bob Moran  - Telegraph @

© Bob Moran. The Daily Telegraph @

Mr Murdoch is a recurring motif in this drawing made by Steve Bell in The Guardian.

© Steve-Bell - Guardian @ procartoonists.jpg

© Steve Bell. The Guardian @

Peter Brookes in The Times takes a tangential look at the weaknesses in the job Lord Justice Leveson was asked to do by the Prime Minister, or, in political speak the missing bits of the terms of reference.

© Peter Brookes - Times @

© Peter Brookes. The Times @

And why was he asked to make this report? It was something about the power of black and white, thinks Matthew Buck in Tribune.


© Matthew Buck. Tribune @

The coalition Government is already falling out about what the report has recommended, as captured by Andy Davey in The Sun.


© Andy Davey. The Sun @

Clearly, it is time for a drink, courtesy of Jonathan Pugh.

© Pugh - Daily Mail @

© Pugh. Daily Mail @

Mike Turner makes a (long term) prediction.

© Mike Turner on Leveson inquiry @

© Mike Turner @

The rows resulting from the Leveson report are unlikely to be over by this Christmas, or next.

© Royston_Readers'_Digest @

© Royston Robertson. Reader's Digest 2011 @

If you see anymore work we should note here please let us know in the comments below.

* It’s about more than just paper nowadays.

by Royston

Plagiarism row goes on

December 16, 2011 in Comment

The row over alleged plagiarism by the American cartoonist Jeff Stahler rumbles on, with many commentators looking at what the case says about the state of US editorial cartooning, and wondering about long-term implications.

Stahler, who was suspended by his employer, the Columbus Dispatch, has since resigned.

Most prominent among the commentators is the cartoonist Ted Rall who says on his blog that he hopes “editors and publishers at newspapers, magazines and websites … consider their own role in encouraging plagiarism”. Rall says that for at least 30 years editors and publishers have discouraged originality and have hired cartoonists whose drawing style “slavishly mimics” the Pulitzer-award winning Jeff MacNelly, who died 11 years ago. Read the full article here: Editors and publishers, heal thyselves

The implications for editors are also discussed in a piece by Katherine Travers at who asks: “What is plagiarism, what is an homage? What is a coincidence, what is not?” She says such questions have prompted speculation about the creation of an ethical code for cartoonists. An article at the Washington Post covers some similar ground, and asks: Is a newsroom’s political cartoonist a “journalist”?

Finally, the comments benath the Daily Cartoonist’s piece on Stahler’s resignation, from cartoonists and other interested parties, proves that this is one that will run and run …