Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 20, 2008

Are Syndicate Reps Misrepresenting For Better or For Worse Changes for Gain?


Editor & Publisher's Dave Astor talks about the changeover coming for Lynn Johnston's juggernaut For Better or For Worse as it shifts from its current state into a new strips/old strip mix centered on storylines marked from the strip's beginnings to the August 31 end point. I think. Astor astutely captures this blog mention that suggests that sales representatives from other syndicates may be misrepresenting the upcoming changeover in order to convince people to drop FBOFW, and, one supposes pick up one of their strips as a replacement.

This is a really bad thing if it's happening as claimed. Lying about another syndicate's offering is an awful sales tactic, and it's doubly so in this case if it's being used against a generally thought-of class act and hugely successful member of her profession like Lynn Johnston. In fact, I'm not sure how even mentioning another syndicate's offering can work as a sales technique; that just seems way too skeevy and pushy for that relationship as I've seen it exist in newsrooms past. But if it does, there's a huge danger with declining papers and slots that things could get ugly quickly despite the overwhelming number of honorable people working as syndicate sales staff.

On the other hand, I'm not even 100 percent sure what the hell is going on with For Better Or For Worse and part of my job is to know stuff like this. I haven't heard how long Universal Press Syndicate salespeople have been going out on this changeover and what they're saying to editors, but the "New Run" strategy wasn't made public knowledge until recently, well after the syndicate had to have known about it if deadlines provide reasonable parameters by which to measure the timing. So while lying is wrong and Lynn Johnston should be celebrated (and not second-guessed, you bozos) for doing whatever the heck she wants to do, I'm sympathetic to the idea that misinformation out there about FBOFW may exist or persist because the actual information has been so fluid and the last burst of it seems to me was delivered in ham-handed fashion.
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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