The demise of editorial cartoons?

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You can’t please anyone. Travels With Farley from June 23, 1977.

The Washington Post has an article about the slow demise of editorial cartoons and cartoonists, because they are offending some readers and I guess in this day and age, newspapers need to hold on to all the subscribers they can.

join-or-dieIronically, the first cartoons in newspapers were editorial cartoons from way back – in fact the first one ran in, 1754! Yup, in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. You may have seen it over the years, it’s right here, the “join or die” image, regarding the colonies.

I’m often concerned about losing followers or readers, not by what I post, but sometimes what they say – in the comments sections, mostly on Facebook and Instagram. I keep my mouth shut, but at times I want to argue. I have been known to delete some comments that are racist or stupid.

But it is interesting that a couple of complaints over a cartoon and newspapers would rather dump the whole editorial cartoon department rather than a subscriber or two. Which often makes me wonder since there isn’t the competition there was years ago. Most cities only have one newspaper, so there is nowhere else for a reader to go if they are in the daily newspaper reading habit.

I feel they are spiting themselves by unsubscribing to a daily habit that they have probably had most of their lives. It’s just so easy to just turn the page – sort of like turning the tv channel if you don’t like something, rather than complaining to the network.

The World, The Sun, The Herald . . .

the-herald

I recently came upon this old photo of the New York Herald, which looks to be in the 1920s because the park is there in front of it and originally the park wasn’t there and the dress of the man in the photo looks to be that era. It’s one of the best photos I’ve seen of the old Herald, it’s the closest image I’ve surely seen, most are from a block away, which show all of Herald Square, but this – this is a nice, up close photo of the New York Herald.

It reminded me of this story I did last spring on the old newspapers of New York.

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Images via Library of Congress

pulitzerI saw a great documentary on Joseph Pulitzer (left) the other night which of course was a lot about the New York World, which he published from 1860 until his death in 1911, after that his sons ran the paper (into the ground) and then in 1931, it merged with the New York Telegram to become the World-Telegram and then years later, in 1950, became the World-Telegram and Sun. You can see the Pulitzer documentary in full at PBS’s American Masters here. The story is great along with the images of the old newspapers and offices and of course, old black and white movies of street scenes and society at the time.

What was interesting about The World was that it seemed to have everything, especially on Sundays. It would print dress patterns, color comics, cut outs that kids could play with and had stories that were not breaking news, but features. Pulitzer and his staff would seek out human interest stories, which was a first for its time. He also designed interesting layouts and pages which were completely different than what was standard at the time – rows and rows of columns.

The World was one of the first newspapers to run comic strips and it started with the Yellow Kid which was stolen by Hearst his New York Journal (later the Journal-American).

One interesting item the documentary talks about was timing. When Pulitzer began publishing The World, New Yorkers started taking public transportation more often and the newspapers at the time were a perfect diversion on city transit.

I always loved old photos of the World building down on Park Row, across from city Hall. It’s gone as of 1955, and I found out from the Pulitzer documentary that it was due to Robert Moses, who seemed to destroy a lot of NYC in the name of progress, including the demise of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to which my father has not forgiven him to this day. Moses demolished the World and Times to build another ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge.

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These clocks can still be seen on the Sun Building today at 280 Broadway.

The Sun building was next door, but eventually moved to 280 Broadway, on the other side of City Hall,  where the is still today. Clocks on each corner show the name – “The Sun – It shines for all.” The Sun came back in the early 2000s but is only online now.

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Beautiful newspaper row.

The New York Tribune building was demolished in 1966 and is now Pace University.

The New York Times building at 41 Park Row is still there today. People mistakenly have claimed over the years that it was demolished for the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, too, but that is not the case. It is also part of Pace University today.

Of course, one of my favorites was the Herald, up on Herald Square, which is now an ugly box building housing Santander Bank and CVS, catty corner to Macy’s.

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The New York Herald.

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Outside the Tribune Building.

The World Newspaper

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Black Out Tuesday

black-out-tuesdayToday is Black Out Tuesday. Many cartoonists and entertainers are posting a black box on social media instead of the usual posts.

You will see this on my social media pages. There won’t be a comic today out of respect for George Floyd, his family and the protesters. I stand with my black neighbors and friends.

Interestingly enough I learned that using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter on these posts on social media drowns out the story for those following current events. So that is the hashtag to follow if you want up-to-date social media posts on Instagram, Facebook and the others.

You can donate to the Black Lives Matter Fund here.
And the ACLU here.

My friend Arva

arvaA friend passed away yesterday – Arva Moore Parks – she was a Miami historian who knew everything there was to know about our city and she saved so many great historic places in the city.

When I was growing up, I admired her. Every time I read about her in the newspapers or saw her on tv, I was impressed.

Some years ago, I saw her on a plane. I was starstruck, totally starstruck. I didn’t say anything, but I was honored to be in her presence. She was a person of such high regard and honor.

Years later I met her at a local protest. I was covering the news for our town and she was there protesting the demolition of a 100 year old church. She came up to me and she knew me. She knew my name! She said my name! I had never met her before but she knew my name. From that day on we were friends. Not friends where we would talk all the time, but she would contact me about things and I would contact her about things and she even honored me by writing about me in her book about the history of Coconut Grove – our village.

Over the years whenever I was writing the news, fighting with politicians and trying to save the world, I would think as I was writing, “What would Arva think?” Would she agree with what I was doing? She always did.

One of our local PBS stations shows a little thing on the history of Miami every night in between programs. The first voice you hear is Arva’s and then you see her on the screen explaining one thing or another. The music at the beginning of the segment is always the same and when I hear it, I say out loud, “Cue Arva!” and I point to the tv and smile as she comes on the screen.

You can see her obit and see how great she was in this Miami Herald obit.

This is the video when I hear the music at the beginning, I know Arva is coming on next.

And the people stayed home

peace

And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened more deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.

And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

– Kitty O’Meara
More on Kitty and the poem here.

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Travels with Farley

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The famous Gerald Ford WIN buttons, when turned upside down meant NO IMPROVEMENT NOW! according to many.

One of my favorite older comic strips is Travels with Farley. I remember seeing it in The San San Francisco Chronicle when I would visit, but I see from an article by Bill Van Nieekerken, that it was a nationally published strip for many years, starting in 1975, and in 1985, Phil Frank, the Farley cartoonist, moved to San Francisco and the strip was then only posted locally mostly about local issues, those are the ones I remember.

The strips are popping up along with other older strips on a Facebook page called The Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages and I love seeing them. Even though they are dated, for some reason they speak to me. They always remind me of San Francisco, but they are funny.

A lot of the reruns I’m reading covered the 1976 elections and Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford and so many of the strips reflect life in the ’70s from elections to inflation. In the ’70s, Farley travele around the country and met people from all walks of life and they discussed the issues of the day. Reading them now makes me want to go back.

Recently there was a parade in town and a guy in the parade looked like Farley! I took his picture and said, “You look like the old Farley comic strip character!” he just smiled and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about, but he was the spitting image of the comic character.

The strips here are a few random ones from 1976 and 1977.

travels-with-farley2travels-with-farley6travels-with-farley7travels-with-farley8travels-with-farley9travels-with-farley10travels-with-farley11travels-with-farley12

Still reading the printed newspaper

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Sunday’s newspaper.

I still subscribe to the printed newspaper – The Miami Herald. Do you subscribe to a printed newspaper?

I only do it for the tv listings, which I know I can get online, so maybe it’s really to support the printed paper. I always want to support the printed newspaper.

One problem with the printed newspaper is that the news is always old when you receive it. By the time it’s on your doorstep the news has been posted all over social media. And I understand that, the news is fresh, if you can post it the second it’s fresh, why not do that?

But what about the features? Most times I’ll read a Sunday feature on a Tuesday, when the feature is completed. It won’t be printed for five days, but there it is for all to read on Tuesday. I think that is part of what’s killing the printed papers. Why not save the features so that they are seen in the printed version first? Then they can be shared on social media or wherever after they make their debut in print.

A lot of times my father tells me something, “You know what I read in today’s paper? Blah, blah, blah …. and blah, blah, blah,” and I have to tell him I read those stories days ago online.

The comics are a lost cause in the paper because I don’t like most of them and they are too small to read, I showed a photo here one time of how small they really are – smaller than some postage stamps! I read the comics online. They are big, colorful, bright and right out there in your face.

The Daily cartoonist showed some samples of newspaper comics from 1954 the other day, that is how comics should be run – large and respected!

When I was a kid, my parents subscribed to the Miami Herald and the South Dade News Leader and I would sometimes buy the afternoon Miami News. When I got older and would traverse South Florida, I would sometimes buy the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Ft. Lauderdale News and I loved the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, probably for the name mostly.  You could also go further north and get the Palm Beach Post and Boca Raton News or go south and get the Key West Citizen, three of them still printed today. But these were all daily newspapers easily accessible. I loved that they all had different comics, and did not like when the Ft. Lauderdale papers combined the comics page and ran the same one every day – I sort of felt cheated.

On the west coast of Florida there are still many papers like the Ft. Myers News Press and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Bradenton Herald, and I love the Naples Daily News – mostly because it doesn’t seem to be part of a chain on the west coast of Florida and it’s still large in page size and sort of does its own thing. It’s the last newspaper I buy on my way back to Miami whenever I’m on Florida’s west coast and I stop and pick it up on my way home.

Living in the Roaring ’20s

newsies

Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Maintaining an institution

The Miami Herald, my daily newspapers, is dropping the Saturday edition this spring, they will only print six days a week.

A few years back, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans dropped a few printed editions during the week, but I think they publish six days a week now. And today I saw a story on tv about the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Little Rock’s daily newspaper going digital. It’s been published for 200 years or so and the current publisher Walter Hussma wants to keep it in business. Their new plan – give every paid subscriber an iPad so that they can read the paper online! His goal is just to pay the bills and to keep the institution going, not to make a killing in profits.

“It’s a lot more interactive. We have slide shows. We have video. You know, when the Arkansas River flooded a few weeks ago, we had ten videos on the front page,” said Hussma

When they first talked about going digital, someone asked, “But what if people don’t have an iPad?” So the newspaper invested $12 million in iPads and now every subscriber receives a free one!

These videos explain it all.