Over the last few months I’ve been working on a comic strip which is scheduled to be published in a local ‘zine. During the course of this adventure I researched the whole comics in newspapers relationship. Here’s some interesting discoveries:
From David Astor for Editor & Publisher, November 4, 1989
“Comics are still the second-best-read features in the newspaper next to the headlines,” he declared. “[Readers and editors] love comics and need them. They’re a very important part of the paper.”
[Mort] Walker said this year’s war between the two Dallas dailies over Universal features illustrates just how important papers think comics are.
“And one of the reasons for the continued interest in comics is that comics are continually interesting,” observed Walker, citing “new blood” over the years such as Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau of Universal, The Far Side by Gary Larson of Universal, and Calvin and Hobbes.
From The City Review:
While the “comic strips” of many newspapers is always one of their best-read features, “editorial” cartoons” have focused on political and sociological topics.
This one is more about the business side of newspapers, but I thought it was interesting.
From business journalist Dana Blankenhorn:
Without classified ad revenue, most newspapers would cost subscribers $1/issue or more, dropping circulation through the floor. Newspapers don’t make a profit from their Web operations, either. Yet they’re expected to post their stories on this medium-with-no-return until, when exactly? It’s the search engines that are making the big money, after all – whether they’re true engines or just link aggregations – those are the news front pages for most Netizens.
The last bastion of a newspaper’s strength is its authority as a “thought leader” for the community. The people it picks for its editorial board, the columnists it chooses to publish – they’re all vetted through a careful, decades-long process for writing ability, reporting ability, and (most of all) fealty to the paper’s hierarchies and financial interest.
Again, this doesn’t have anything to do with comic strips, but is an interesting piece about Asheville’s “unusual” newspaper market.
“Gannett growing in weekly market, ranks No. 1 among owners”, by Chas J. Hartman, and Al Cross:
In western North Carolina, where Gannett owns the Asheville Citizen-Times and its two offshoot weeklies, the Haywood County News and Black Mountain News. The latter weekly, which predated Gannett ownership, is listed in E&P’s database. Gannett’s other Asheville non-dailies are the quarterly magazine Blue Mountain Living and the monthly magazines Mountain Maturity and WNC (Western North Carolina) Parent.
There are an unusually large number of independent niche publications in the relatively small Asheville metro area. Weeklies include the Asheville Daily Planet, Asheville Global Report, The Asheville Tribune and Mountain Xpress. The last paper is the only one in E&P’s database.
Some interesting tidbits here. I’ll add this to the mix:
Gannett-slash-the Asheville Citizen-Times recently purchased the News Sentinel, Madison County’s weekly, and now operates that. And in Henderson County, the Citizen-Times is publishing the Pisgah Mountain News weekly.
The bit about newspaper web sites not making money is mostly true, but changing. More and more people are comfortable advertising online, and realizing the power to reach people there.
And the Asheville market is indeed unique, with a whole slew of niche publications that aren’t mentioned, from WNC Woman to RapidRiver to whatever. One final note on the classified advertising – check out the IWANNA, stacked with classifieds. It costs $1, which goes against what one of your quotes said, and is one of the most highly circulated newspapers in our area.