Originally published in the Grand Rapids Press, March 6, 2010
So the reason this is here — the reason I’m drawing a weekly editorial cartoon for our local daily newspaper, the Grand Rapids Press — is both admirable and maybe a little bit startling: They are trying something different. The Press is trying to play up its strength of covering local/state issues by providing readers with a local/state editorial cartoon in its Saturday editions. As a reader (and especially as the cartoonist), I admire that. It’s startling because, over the past decade as newspaper readership has accelerated into decline, most newspapers have made a point of not trying something different, hoping against hope for better times.
But I’m getting the sense that times are starting to change. The realities of modern media have set in, and some newspapers are looking to build on the advantages that they do have. I’m not ready to break into early Bob Dylan song, but there is definitely a more positive vibe. So I would like for you to do me two favors:
First, if you don’t already have one, get a subscription to the Grand Rapids Press. (Or if that’s too much of a leap, pick up a Saturday newspaper.) I think you’ll be pleased with the overall quality and how pleasant it can be to read something without a creepy dancing lady wanting you to check out her mortgage rates.
Second, read this column written by the editor, Paul Keep. He seems to have a pretty clear vision of where he thinks the paper needs to go. Even if you don’t care at all about the paper, when was the last time you experienced somebody articulating a clear vision?