Duluth Paper Apologizes for School-Shooting Cartoon; Cartoonist Unhappy

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By: Dave Astor

A note apologizing for a syndicated editorial cartoon about the recent Minnesota school shootings was posted today by the Duluth News Tribune — to the cartoonist’s displeasure.

In the note, News Tribune President and Publisher Marti Buscaglia said: “Some of our readers have indicated they were offended by the racially derogatory nature of Wednesday’s political cartoon commenting on the Red Lake incident. Frankly, I agree with those viewpoints and want to extend my apologies to those who were offended during a sensitive time in our region.”

The drawing, dated March 25, was created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Signe Wilkinson of The Philadelphia Daily News and Washington Post Writers Group. In it, she showed a person holding an “Indian Tracking Guide” while following items on the ground such as a gun, a picture of Adolf Hitler, and a Nazi swastika. “I’m not recognizing these signs,” says the person.

When contacted by E&P, Wilkinson e-mailed this response to the NewsTribune apology: “My cartoon was drawn in sympathy with the Red Lake citizens. All it was saying was that the footprints troubled kids leave behind today in the 21st century are not the footprints of anyone’s traditional culture. The cartoon boldly bemoaned the violent American subculture that some of our children fall prey to. I would have appreciated the chance to explain that to the one reader whose letter was published and to anyone at the paper who had cared to get my side of the story.”

Buscaglia’s note was linked to by the Poynter Institute’s Romenesko Web site.

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