Thursday, December 04, 2008

Des Moines Register lets cartoonist go. Now what?

The DM R reports - - -

The Des Moines Register is eliminating jobs for 41 employees because of worsening economic situations, publisher Laura Hollingsworth announced today.

Another 15 open positions will not be filled, she said, and four employees volunteered for a severance package.

Among the positions cut was the newsroom’s editorial cartoonist, Brian Duffy, who has been in that position since 1983. The Register had claimed to be the only newspaper in the United States with an editorial cartoon on the front page.

The tradition extended back to at least the early 20th century, according to Register archives.

Ted Rall, the president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, estimated that about 20 editorial cartoonists have been laid off or retired in the last three years. …

The rest of the DMR’s story’s here.

Brian Duffy and Ted Rall are two of MSM’s best known liberal/leftist newspaper cartoonists.

“Liberal/leftist” and MSM “newspaper cartoonists” are close to a redundancy: the overwhelming majority of MSM newspaper cartoonists are liberals/leftists.

I don’t know where Duffy will find another job that’ll pay him a salary and benefits for knocking out a handful of cartoons every week that fit nicely with the DMR’s political biases.

But I wish him well.

I also have some advice for the financially beleagueded DMR: Use Duffy’s departure as an opportunity to strengthen your balance sheet.

I’m not thinking about his salary and benefits money you’ll save.

You already know about that.

My advice is consider treating the space Duffy’s cartoons have occupied on your front page as advertising space.

Don’t go: “Gasp! Horrors!”

British newspapers regularly sell ad space on their front pages.

The best and the worst of them do it.

You could use the added revenue to improve the severance packages you’re offering employees.

You don’t like that idea?

Then what about this: Do you pay any health care benefits to your carriers?

You know most newspapers don’t.

The ad revenue generated by sales of front page ads could at least be used to pay the carriers a better wage which would be some help toward meeting their health care costs.

Think about it.

I’ll post again tomorrow on the topic of front page ad sales by American newspapers.