Garry Trudeau Talks Newspapers, Deadlines With Greensboro 'News & Record'

By: E&P Staff The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., has posted a Q&A with "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau, in which the cartoonist weighs in on -- among other topics -- tighter deadlines, his favorite characters to write, and whether his strip has any kind of post-newspaper media plan.

The paper spoke to Trudeau in advance of the opening of "Doonesbury at War," an exhibit of cartoons to be featured through Oct. 11 in the Hege Library at the Guilford College Art Gallery in Greensboro.

?The reason I now work on such a short lead is largely due to Watergate. Events broke in such a pell-mell, unexpected fashion during the unfurling scandal, it was hard to get out ahead,? he tells staff writer (and cartoonist) Tim Rickard. ?It's true sometimes the strip appears prescient to people, but that's usually blind luck. If you write topical material every day, on occasion you're bound to surge ahead of the curve.?

As to whether "Doonesbury" have a post-newspaper media plan, Trudeau replies, ??Doonesbury" has been on the Web for 15 years, and the site actually makes a little money -- unheard-of for media sites. But it's not really a plan, just a presence. I don't believe there's anything I can do personally to prepare for a post-newspaper future, other than hope that the large media companies will come to their senses and form a gated Web collective along the lines of cable TV. They need to form a news utility, financed by subscription or micropayments because going it alone has been disastrous for all of them.

"The only other model that seems promising is the electronic reader,? he continues. ?By the end of the year, Kindle will have lots of competition, and if e-readers become larger, flatter and more newspaperlike, people would conceivably move to them and pay for subscriptions that would cost far less than print subscriptions. We know the Web is probably a lost cause -- a whole generation believes everything on it should be free -- but we also know from the iPhone that a new platform can set new rules. Look how happily people pay for apps.?

Check out the full interview here.


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