From the newsroom: How we're learning from our mistake
My heart hurts.
As your readers’ representative it’s my job to let you in on what’s going on at the Wildcat and fight for your perspective.
Readers are hurt and outraged. They should be. Tuesday’s cartoon was disgusting. Perhaps it was a lousy attempt at satire by a college student who shouldn’t be doing satire. He clearly doesn’t understand the issue he aimed to satirize.
It isn’t an over the top satirical approach (which is what I’m to understand was supposed to be his intention) because the situation depicted in the cartoon actually happens in real life.
The comic didn’t do anything to call out or mock the homophobic and hateful father. It just made the action look acceptable.
It’s sickening and we don’t need a cartoon to showcase hateful name-calling.
I liked how the Tucson Weekly put it, “It’s like taking a photo of a car-wreck and stapling it to the end of a “Garfield” comic.”
The author’s apology didn’t strike me as sincere. Many of you thought the same. It sounded defensive and didn’t even begin to mitigate the hurt.
I don’t know what his deal was. I don’t know him personally as most people at the Wildcat don’t know cartoonists personally. We don’t have an illustrations editor.
Maybe that’s part of the problem. One person usually reviews cartoons: the editor-in-chief. Not a copy editor, not the copy chief, not the managing editor. Just one person.
It’s now abundantly clear that the comics are too often reviewed as more of an afterthought and not as editorial content.
We wrote that the Wildcat is reviewing editorial policies. You deserve to know exactly what that means.
Having the cartoons looked at by one person is insufficient and puts too much pressure on an individual. Especially when that individual is the person running the entire paper.
Cartoons are opinions and editorial content. They should be treated with the same care because they are powerful. Good comics do more than cause a chuckle; they can discuss important issues in a meaningful way. Bad comics — and this was a doozy of one — not only hurt others but can cause hate to be perpetuated.
We’ll be meeting to establish a policy that has more people looking over comics, because what happened was unacceptable.
As far as our initial apology containing the phrase “some readers,” that was written because at that point we’d only heard from one reader. It wasn’t intended to sound snarky. We simply didn’t have a pulse on how many readers were offended because we hadn’t heard from them yet.
If there is one good thing that’s come out of this, it’s that people saw hate and voiced that they didn’t think it was OK. I’m touched to know that so many of you were upset and spoke out. Years ago, I don’t think that would have been the case. It is truly remarkable to see so many people rallying to protect a community that doesn’t have a long history of this kind of public support. It gives me faith in the future to know that so many people will come together to call out hate.