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.