Canadian Chain Editorials Criticized

By: Dave Astor

National Conference of Editorial Writers President Fred Fiske criticized CanWest Global Communications Corp. for its new policy of distributing national editorials to its papers via Southam News Service.

“I think it is an unwise business decision, likely to backfire with readers who are accustomed to editorials on national and international subjects that take account of the diversity of views in their communities and the ways those subjects are linked to local and regional concerns,” Fiske wrote in a Dec. 28 letter to CanWest, whose holdings include Southam dailies in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and other cities.

CanWest Publications Committee Chairman David Asper defended the editorials in a recent speech: “While our local editors overwhelmingly fill their papers with local editorial views and Op-Ed columns, and will continue to do so, there is a good reason to also publish a national view from time to time — one that is independent of purely regional interests and looks at what’s best for the nation as a whole rather than local or regional communities.”


Anthony Lewis Ends Column

His ‘N.Y. Times’ Feature Ran 32 Years

Anthony Lewis has ended his New York Times/New York Times News Service column after 32 years.

In his final piece last month, Lewis wrote, “The hard question is whether our commitment to law will survive the new sense of vulnerability that is with us all after Sept. 11. It is easy to tolerate dissent when we feel safe.” But he added that the United States has learned from past mistakes and made advances: “In my lifetime we have carried out two revolutions, unfinished but extraordinary: the ending of racial discrimination and the move toward equality for women.”


There’s Life After The Web …

… For “Pearls Before Swine” Comic

A strip starring a megalomaniacal rat and a slow-witted pig is being launched today by United Media.

“Pearls Before Swine,” which has appeared on United’s site for 14 months, is by attorney/cartoonist Stephan Pastis.

The comic has more than 50 charter clients — a high total in today’s economy. They include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Washington Post.


Et cetera … launched “Alert,” an e-mail-based weather alert and forecasting product. …

Mike Baldwin’s Sunday “Cornered” now includes two cartoons rather than one in the same space. The Universal Press Syndicate comic creator will also do a vertical Sunday “Cornered” if enough clients sign on. …

Two United Media comics — “For Better or For Worse” by Lynn Johnston and “Luann” by Greg Evans — finished one-two among Torrance, Calif., Daily Breeze readers in a poll of daily comics. “Luann” edged “For Better” in the paper’s Sunday rankings. …

Scripps Howard News Service did a package on the threat of a water crisis in the United States. …

The Newseum exhibition of 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons by Ann Telnaes of Tribune Media Services was extended to March 3. …

Computerworld named Clickability one of the “top 100 emerging companies” to watch this year. …

The Mudpie-Tim Rosenthal Cartoon Invitational Golf Tournament raised more than $6,700 to fight scleroderma. Rosenthal, an American Color executive, died of the disease. …

A literacy campaign featuring the work of seven syndicated cartoonists won an award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.

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