Editor column: Readers help Tribune decide which comic strip to drop to make way for “Wumo”
By lisa Carricaburu
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Oct 25 2013 09:31AM
Like many of you, I’m sure, I began reading the newspaper as a child by turning to the comics page every day to follow the antics of "Garfield" and the humor of "The Far Side."
The enjoyment we get from these simple drawings and clever captions endures, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as an editor, it’s to take seriously any changes to the comics.
Even as our news consumption habits evolve, readers young and old remain passionate about their comics. Earlier this month, we asked you to weigh in about a change we’re making and we got more than 1,500 calls along with a number of emails.
On Nov. 4, we’ll add "Wumo" to our daily and Sunday comics. Reporter Scott Pierce will introduce the original and genuinely funny new comic through an interview with Danish comedy writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler that we’ll publish Nov. 3. You can check it out beforehand by visiting "Wumo’s" Facebook page.
In order to add the new strip, though, we must drop another comic. We offered a list to choose from: "B.C.," "Brevity," "Piranha Club," "Mary Worth" and "Judge Parker."
We made the list based on a number of factors. In the case of "B.C.," the original artist, Johnny Hart, died in 2007 and a team of artists at John Hart Studios is now responsible for the strip. Other papers recently have dropped "Brevity" or "Piranha Club." Both "Mary Worth" and "Judge Parker" are legacy strips whose appeal is lost on many younger readers.
It’s difficult to put specific numbers to your input because many of you suggested more than one comic we could eliminate, including some comics that weren’t on our list.
Regardless, it was easy to draw some conclusions from your comments, including:
"B.C." • Many of you love the strip, saying you’re daily readers and devout fans. Only a handful said we could lose "B.C." Clearly, it stays.
"Mary Worth" and "Judge Parker" • Many consider these strips outdated but those who enjoy the two comics are an adamant bunch. Even a few who don’t necessarily like "Mary Worth" and "Judge Parker" themselves advocate for keeping them as a service to older readers.
"Piranha Club" • Readers either love or hate it. Some find the comic "nasty." Others enjoy its bite.
"Brevity" • This strip was as frequently mentioned as a comic we could drop as were "Mary Worth" and "Judge Parker," yet only a few of you advocated for keeping it.
Other comics • Readers consistently mentioned a few other comics we could drop, including "Get Fuzzy," "Pearls Before Swine," "Overboard" and "Doonesbury."
The decision remained difficult, but we have chosen to replace "Brevity" with "Wumo" based on your input.
We think we made the right decision but we’ll hear you out if you disagree. Share your input about the new comic, too. We think it will live up to the expectations built around it but that’s for you to decide.
New blog • The news industry is changing and with it The Salt Lake Tribune as we adapt to new ways you consume news while remaining Utah’s independent voice and best source of both breaking news and investigative reporting.
With that in mind, on Monday we’ll introduce a new "Notes from the Newsroom" blog that aims to keep you informed about changes and new initiatives, answer your questions and hear your comments. I will oversee the blog with contributions from other editors. Check it out at sltrib.com. Weigh in.
Lisa Carricaburu is managing editor. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter: @lcarricaburu.