QUOTE: "Is this the beginning of the end for the daily printed comics page in many American towns and cities?
Some cartoonists and readers fear such a trend as Lee Enterprises, an Iowa-based media company that owns nearly 80 daily newspapers, is transitioning to a “uniform set of offerings” with its comics, puzzles and advice columns, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a Lee paper. The newspaper reported Sept. 11 that as a result, its print section would cut back to “a half-page of comics” Mondays through Saturdays.
And the Omaha World-Herald reported Sept. 13 that “to operate more efficiently, we’re streamlining the comics, puzzles and features that we and other Lee Enterprises newspapers have been providing.”
The shift made headlines when cartoonists such as “Bizarro” creator Dan Piraro and “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams said that they had lost Lee client newspapers. Adams said he had lost 77 papers. Creators are still working to determine the full impact of these changes, including how their strips’ online presence is affected.
The Lee announcement comes shortly after News Corp Australia said its scores of newspapers will drop their comic strips.
Comics sections in many papers have been shrinking for years, but Piraro says the across-the-chain changes by Lee Enterprises feel less gradual. “Seeing the dominoes begin to fall at such an accelerated pace is scary,” says Piraro, noting that he still depends on the income he receives from print newspapers. “I’ll now need to put more energy into generating income elsewhere.”
Adds Piraro: “I’m seeing this as the inevitable result of people choosing to get their news online.”
In their explanations for their comics-section changes, Lee papers such as the World Herald, the Waco Tribune and the Richmond Times-Dispatch cited the industry’s larger ongoing move to digital readership — as some outlets offer access to hundreds of strips online. "
Parker and Hart
Mastroianni and Hart