I blogged here about a large row that’s going on in the US about the worth of animating political and news cartoons – and implied that was coming about because of the economic changes which are challenging print journalism – of all sorts.
One of the people I referenced, cartoonist Clay Bennett has kindly sent the details of an interview with him which has been published in the American Journal of Political Science this month. It’s well worth a read for anyone who works in the print industry. I’ll link to the whole pdf of the interview here, but here’s one of the accurate points I think he makes about one of the reasons for the decline in newspaper circulations in industrialised western societies.
Clay > The bulk of the [job] positions lost over the past thirty years have been as a result of the virtual extinction of two-newspaper towns in America. <
> Our problem now is not the newspapers were lost, but the ones that remain. No longer engaged in a competition for readers, a newspaper loses the ambition and aggressiveness that rivalry inspires. Without a cross-town rival, the features that once made the paper unique, and the journalists whose work most distinguished the publication from its competitor became expendable.<
I think this is an elegant summation of what has happened to our printed media (and cartoons in them), inspite of the variety of national press we have. I believe there will be a role for unique and distinctive content in the digital age, but we all still wait for business to work out that in order to get good content (and branding recognition) for the multiplicity of digital devices, one must be prepared to pay for the people who can make it.