Fund a political cartoonist for a year. You Can Save a Great Editorial Cartoonist – and Save our Profession Too! (Guest Voice)
by Daryl Cagle
Bill Day has been one of America’s top political cartoonists for more than thirty years. He’s won a room full of awards, and his syndicated cartoons are read by millions of newspaper readers across the country. He’s also unemployed, and is close to losing his house.
Day was the cartoonist for The Detroit Free-Press, and then The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee, up until March of 2009 when he was laid-off as part of a slew of newsroom cuts made at the height of the economic recession. After three years of searching for a new newspaper, Bill now works at a bike shop during the day to pay the bills; the money he earns fixing bicycles isn’t enough for him to afford his mortgage, so Bill is close to losing his house and being unable to continue to draw the great cartoons he’s become known for.
Political cartoons are more popular than ever. Cartoons are quick, bite-sized pieces of visual commentary that work great in print and on the Web. Cartoons spread across social networks like Facebook and Twitter like wildfire, look great on tablets and on smart phones, and can easily reach millions of readers in the click of a few buttons. Editorial cartoons are part of state-mandated testing in 8th and 11th grade, and a part of the weekly homework for millions of students in America.
Editorial cartoonists are still widely syndicated in newspapers across the country and have a huge audience, but national syndication pays only a small fraction of what cartoonists made from traditional newspaper staff jobs, and as newspapers decline, cartoonist jobs have been cut, making editorial cartoonists an endangered species. The rate of editorial cartoonists leaving the profession has accelerated in recent years and months.
An important and popular part of the public debate is in danger of being lost. Today there are less than 70 editorial cartoonists in America who have staff jobs; a few years ago there were twice that number. Cartoonists have been losing their jobs in tandem with newsroom journalists, but since there were fewer cartoonists to start with, the diminished numbers threaten the viability of our art form and it’s role in the public debate.
You can help stop the decline of our profession, by saving one important voice at an important time. You can keep Bill Day working, and we’ll make sure his work continues to be a part of the public debate, seen by millions or readers.
Our goal is to raise $35,000, to be paid as a “salary” to Bill to draw at least four editorial cartoons a week, every week, for an entire year. Bill’s cartoons cover national issues, everything from the Presidential election to Wall Street, the dysfunctional Congress and our corrupt political system. We’ll produce two eBook collections of his cartoons – “2012: A Year in Cartoons” and “2013: A Year in Cartoons” that will chronicle the events of the year through the spectrum of Bill’s sharp wit and pen tips.
And if we’re able to raise more; $70,000 or $100,000, we will keep Bill working at the important job of drawing political cartoons for the next 2-3 years. All donated funds will be kept in a segregated fund for Bill’s salary; CagleCartoons.com will not share in any of it; all of the funds, after Indiegogo’s share and expenses, will go to Bill, in exchange for his commitment to continue his great work, and to provide the donors with great premiums, including Bill’s original artwork.
Our unique American art form needs you. Bill needs you. Please, save our profession, save Bill and keep an important, progressive voice in the public debate by donating to keep Bill drawing for the next year and beyond.
More of Bill Day’s great political cartoons:
Cross-posted from Indiegogo.com