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

January 18, 2013

Go, Read: Matt Bors On Plagiarism In Editorial Cartooning

I'd recommend everyone with an interest in cartooning in newspaper read Matt Bors' long and anguished post about the continuing prevalence of swiping in editorial cartooning circles. That's a tough thing to have to write for a few reasons. First, Bors is a younger member of that fraternity. Second, it's a fraternity that's under constant assault the last dozen years or so for financial reasons. Third, it's really difficult to formulate a way to frame that conversation that makes for a better field.

An additional hassle is that some of these may not be settled issues -- at least not for everyone. For example, I can see someone arguing that repeating cartoons isn't so much a betrayal of the obligation to produce daily content as a way to build continuity between certain events -- I know I do things that involve cutting and pasting for that reason. Still, it's better to have those conversations than to furiously refuse to have them, or to declare the major thrust of these issues out of bounds because you can chase parts of them to an extreme or to an island of principled disagreement. I appreciate Bors making his thoughts known and hope that there can be improvements across the board in terms of any activities -- egregious or interpretive -- that lead editorial cartooning into these distressing results. The end result needs to change. I hope that the messenger isn't attacked, and I hope that his message isn't worried to death.
posted 7:20 am PST | Permalink

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