For years, upon being syndicated, a cartoonist could experience three things that made the dream feel real. Two of those, of course, were seeing one's cartoon in the newspaper and receiving your first check from the syndicate. The third was to see an announcement of your feature's launch appear in that media industry trade bible, Editor & Publisher. It was cartooning's equivalent of your name appearing in a major league boxscore.
Last week, alas, Editor & Publisher announced that it will be no more. The century-old-plus publication -- its history harks back to such names as Pulitzer and Hearst, will soon cease publication.
You can chalk up E&P's demise, perhaps, to an industry's changing faster than the publication's ability to serve it. Yet the news came as a shock to many: Why couldn't the publication continue as an online-only entity? Apparently in an online universe that includes such journo news blogs as Poynter's Jim Romenesko, E&P could not maintain a large enough audience, let alone primacy.
And yet its shuttering is being mourned throughout the industry. One group that is paying its respects is cartoonists. For as long as I can remember, the "Syndicates" section -- long reported by David Astor -- was a must-read. And when E&P issued its annual Syndicate Directory, any cartoonist truly hoping to build that client list knew being listed in there was a mark not only of arrival, but also of confirmation.
Two cartoonists who worked for E&P have crafted notable memoriams to their former employer.
STEVE GREENBERG writes knowledgeably, poignantly about the loss of E&P, for which he used to draw.
And ROB TORNOE reacts to the news, speaking smartly about his experience with working for E&P online.
To more fully understand what Editor & Publisher has meant to many cartoonists, I recommend both.
E&P: Soon, R.I.P. I'll keep your yellowing syndicate directories, like a historical sports page that reminds you of when you first played in the majors.
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