There are two medium-circulation local newspapers in my suburban Cleveland area, and both offer comparable news coverage and editorials. Only one of them, though, has an on-staff cartoonist who puts a humorous artistic slant on local politics and events, and that’s one of the reasons that I tend to like this paper’s editorial content more than the competition.
I’m a former journalist myself, and I realize that it’s fairly uncommon for a local newspaper to have its own cartoonist on staff and publish cartoons that have to do with local political campaigns, candidates and elections.
The lack of local editorial cartoonists isn’t so much because there aren’t enough people with artistic talent to draw cartoons. The problem is that political campaign cartoons need a special kind of wit, humor and comic subtlety in order to work, and few artists are able to pull it off.
A good political campaign editorial cartoon can poke fun at candidates without resorting to juvenile or crude humor, and is usually funny on many different levels. In fact, I think that artistic talent is the least important talent that a political cartoonist needs to possess. Some of the funniest election cartoons that I’ve seen featured pretty crude drawing skills.
Does your local newspaper have its own political campaign cartoonist who draws caricatures of candidates and election issues? If so, are they effective in their satire or do they miss the mark?