You’re noticing some changes on these pages.
Rather than the Lewiston Tribune’s traditional political cartoonists — Mike Luckovich of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily, Lisa Benson and Tom Toles of the Washington Post as well as David Horsey of the Seattle Times — this Sunday’s Opinion section highlights four conservatives:
- Antonio “A.F.” Branco — A resident of northwest Washington state, Branco is a former member of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps., and musician. Slaying “the dragons of leftist lunacy” is what he relishes.
- Al Goodwyn — Educated in physics, Goodwyn has been cartooning since 1989. He launched his newspaper career with the Aiken (S.C.) Standard, and his following has expanded to the Washington Post, the Washington Times and the Washington Examiner. “My cartoons lean right, but I frequently do cartoons that poke at all sides.”
- Gary Varvel — Between 1994 and 2019, Varvel served as editorial cartoonist at The Indianapolis News. He’s been involved in filmmaking, serving as cowriter and producer of “The Board” in 2009 and “The War Within” in 2014.
- Chip Bok — Cartoonist for the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal and the Tampa Bay Times. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, Bok illustrated Dave Barry’s column for the Miami Herald from 1982-84.
Which of the following editorial cartoonists would you like to see regularly featured?
This is a matter of addition, not subtraction. They are not replacing Luckovich, Ramirez, Benson, Horsey and Toles. But one of these four will join them as a regular Tribune contributor. Which one depends on the feedback we get from our readers during a try-out period these next two or three weeks.
To that end, another change will be launched. You’re going to see more of Ramirez’s conservative perspective, both occasionally on the front of the Sunday Opinion section as well as during the week.
There’s no mystery behind this. Amid the fallout concerning Luckovich’s Aug. 26 panel, Lewiston Tribune Editor and Publisher Nathan Alford sounded out the community. What he found was a call for an inclusive page that looks more like the people who read it.
“Too many of our daily political cartoons represent the left and exclude the right,” he wrote on Sept. 4. “Our mission and obligation on the Opinion page has traditionally been to share a wide range of views. It’s not to be right, either. It’s to foster critical thinking on the most significant issues of the day.”
So you’ll see more of a mix between right, left and center.
This extends beyond nationally syndicated material.
The Tribune prides itself on freeing up the space necessary to publish hundreds of letters each year. As a general rule, the Opinion page serves as a forum for virtually every submission from every point of view.
That’s a rare commitment in today’s difficult newspaper environment.
Now the Tribune will attempt to accommodate more local voices.
We’ll experiment with a new feature: Call it “Monday Meme.” This option depends on your involvement, but space will be made available for reader submissions. Send memes to the Lewiston Tribune via Facebook Messenger or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, phone number and town of residence.
At the same time, the Opinion page will also relax its policy toward reader-generated columns. Up to now, that space was limited to Turnabouts, allowing the subject of an editorial the opportunity to make a rebuttal argument. The idea was to maintain priority for letters.
But we’ll strive to make room for the occasional argument that cannot be contained to 250 words.
The goal here is challenge both ends of the political spectrum, leaving neither entirely comfortable in its assumptions.
Nonetheless, the Lewiston Tribune’s editorial — the one you’re now reading — remains the voice of this newspaper. Its independent spirit — expressed so vibrantly more than a half-century ago by then-Publisher A.L. “Bud” Alford — is the Tribune’s DNA: “Our opinions are not for sale.”
Nothing in Alford’s pledge interferes with further democratizing of what has been a nexus between this community and the broader world of commentary. Just consider this an invitation to widen the window on that world. — M.T.