Monday, July 9, 2007

New cartoon polls: Are they really necessary?

A couple of weeks ago I found out that my cartoon "Cafe con Leche" was among several cartoons that were placed in an online reader poll. According to the newspaper, which ever cartoon that garnered the most votes from 'readers' would be added to their comics section. These cartoon polls are a growing trend with daily newspapers and it seems that feature editors are unwilling to just make the decision for themselves. I've worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years and I know the challenges that newspapers face each day. Still, it just seems like a double-standard. I have never seen a reader poll for selecting a syndicated columnist. Also, these 'reader polls' can be manipulated. If its an online poll, and most are, that leaves the decision of selecting a new feature up to those in cyberspace. Basically, a cartoonist can simply forward emails to freinds, family, and coworkers to vote for him/her. Kudos to the smaller circulation papers, though. I don't remember the last time I've seen a cartoon reader poll in a newspaper with a circulation less than 50,000.

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