National Cartoonists Society Prez Slams Newspaper Comic Polls

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By: E&P Staff

National Cartoonists Society President Rick Stromoski criticized comic polls in a letter that ran in today’s Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

The Connecticut-based Stromoski noted that there are many things cartoonist disagree about, but most dislike comic polls.

Why? “This system has built-in flaws on several levels,” wrote Stromoski, who does the “Soup to Nutz” comic for United Media. “First, newspaper readers tend to be associated with an older demographic. Older readers tend to vote more often and for the favorite strips they’ve been reading — sometimes for decades. Younger readers tend not to participate in comics polls, so you’re left with a skewed result.

“Even if you had 90% participation from readers, polling is a lousy way to choose a feature. No contributors in any other part of the newspaper are subjected to this arbitrary and unfair practice. No newspaper asks its readers to vote on a columnist or sportswriter based on two or three lines of their writing.

“Features editors make decisions daily as to what goes into the newspaper, yet they abdicate this responsibility when it comes time to choose a comic. The readership and professional cartoonists would be better served if editors did the job they were hired to do and made the best choice of comic strips for their newspaper.”

The Courant has recently been conducting an online comics survey.

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