Matt “Hack” Buck posted some interesting thoughts on his blog a few days back, about the future of satire and political cartoonists. It’s well worth a read!
Below are some of my thoughts that I put in a reply:
I tend to agree with John Jensen, when he says “There will always be political satire, as long as there are politicians. Where political cartoons appear will depend on what media is available at any given time.”
To your question: “So, are we going to see people like me directly employed by political factions again in the future?” I agree with Christian Adams‘ brutal but essentially true reply “We already are. However much cartoonists may think they are independent, outraged voices bellowing at a comatose public to wake up and see what only they can see, they are not. We work for politically slanted employers, and we follow their line. I can think of no exception. ”
I believe the main concern of most cartoonists is not to have an mass media outlet which is ideologically and economically independent (what does that mean anyway? And does such a think exist?), but one that corresponds with our own ideas – and more importably lets you have a certain degree of editorial freedom. An even more honest answer would probably be that most cartoonists primary concern is to have a mass media outlet at all.
If complete ideological independence is the sole aim, there has arguably never been a better time to be a cartoonist, given that the numerous ways of bypassing every major media institution and doing it ourselves online, have never been more accessible.
For the first time in history cartoonists can reach world wide audiences with truly independent work.
And if it’s good enough, people might even pay for it.
Very few people have ever made a lot of money from political cartooning. The number of people who did so in the past was very small. The number of high earning cartoonists today is also very small. And the likelihood is that the number of high earning cartoonists in the future will be small too. But they will be there.
Of course things are changing at the moment, but whether they’re changing for the better or worse, I believe comes down to the attitude of the individual cartoonist. Those who embrace the changes might succeed, and those who don’t will most certainly fail.