Editorial Cartoonists Announce "Black Ink Monday" To Protest Industry Layoffs
Since Ben Franklin and colonial times, the editorial cartoon has been one of the most visible and popular parts of the
daily paper. However, recent changes within the newspaper industry have placed this American institution at risk.
Over the last 20 years, the number of cartoonists on the staff of daily newspapers nationwide has been cut in half. In
the last month alone, the Tribune Company (owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and a half-dozen other
prominent papers), has forced out well-known and award-winning cartoonists at the LA Times and Baltimore Sun,
eliminating their positions entirely.
Now, editorial cartoonists are responding to these cuts, in the best way they know how — by throwing ink.
On Monday, Dec. 12, dozens of editorial cartoonists will band together for "Black Ink Monday," unleashing their biting
commentary on the current state of affairs in the newspaper business, with a specific emphasis on corporate downsizing.
These cartoons will be posted on editorialcartoonists.com (home of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists)
and — hopefully — in various papers across the country. The AAEC intends to use the protest to draw attention to, not
just the loss of individual jobs, but the wholesale weakening of the daily newspaper.
In an open letter to Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons, AAEC President Clay Bennett recently wrote: "There are few
journalists in a newsroom who can define the tone and identity of a publication like an editorial cartoonist does. By
discarding those who make a newspaper unique, you rob it of its character. By robbing a newspaper of its character, you
steal its spirit."..