Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The St. Louis Post "Should Have a Local Cartoonist"

In today's Letters to the Editor page of  The St. Louis Post-Dipatch, letter writer Craig Niehaus tells the paper that they should hire a local cartoonist.

Mr. Niehaus misses R.J. Matson, even though he did not agree with Matson's politics. Matson was the editorial cartoonist at the paper from July 2005 to July 2012. He currently cartoons for Roll Call.

I agree with a lot of this letter. Here it is:

I have to admit, I miss editorial cartoonist R.J. Matson. The fact that I rarely agreed with his positions doesn't matter.

The current hodgepodge of cartoons from other sources only emphasizes the loss of a local perspective. So many issues, from the History Museum saga, the St. Louis University kerfuffle and even the rise and fall of the Cardinals needed to be illustrated.

Matson's "Punchline" feature was also a fun addition to the mix. The weekly challenge to amateurs (like me) sometimes generated 500 entries on timely subjects, before the Facebook filter was instituted.
I know nothing about the newspaper business. But the daily paper gets thinner daily. And printing a compilation of stories from other sources is like Imo's putting a frozen Totino's pizza in its box. Not gonna work.

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Hire back some of your better people for a better product.
  • Produce five papers a week instead of seven. Tuesday and Saturday are worthless anyway.
  • Raise your price, if necessary, as long as the product merits it.
  • Find some local ownership, or a better national partner. I look forward to the day when the names Lee Enterprises and Mary Junck no longer appear in stories.
Craig Niehaus  •  Glendale

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