116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
If you've followed this blog you know people can be highly passionate about the comics that run in a newspaper. The Gazette certainly has been in the middle of a few storms over its comics. (Links to Dec. 24 post about most recent move and March 20, 2009, column about our rescinded attempt to dump the popular "Pearls Before Swine" and "Get Fuzzy".)
We are not alone. The Los Angeles Times is under fire for changes it is making to its pages. An Editor & Publisher article from Feb. 4 has a great lead: "Apparently, the Los Angeles Times never learned the lesson that you Do Not Mess With the Comics Pages."
Occasionally I hear from people who want the comics to be larger. The Chicago Tribune has done that. But in order to make room it has done what The Gazette would have to do -- drop some comics. We aren't doing that.
The Tribune's move came as the paper moved to a narrower page size. Gone from the Trib's pages are five comics The Gazette doesn't run but one that followers of our effort to present comics will recognize: "Get Fuzzy." The Tribune added "Pickles", which we run, and "Dustin", which we started running in January.
The Omaha World Herald is adding "Get Fuzzy" and three others but dropping more than a dozen comics. You think the World Herald is hearing about this? World-Herald Executive Editor Mike Reilly explained the changes on Feb. 16, although the paper had announced the changes earlier as well.
The Gazette is preparing a promised survey of readers' satisfaction over the comics we run. We are trying to determine which comics are readers' favorites. We're taking heat for dropping "Retail" in January. If that comic were to return, something else would have to go. And maybe we need to shuffle the deck with some of the older comics we run.
We won't learn people's true interests simply by asking people what they read every day. Instead, we want to ask people what comics give them the most pleasure and which ones they live without. Hopefully we can roll that survey out soon. We'll let you know, in the newspaper and also online, when it is ready.