Editorial cartoon about Ferguson seen as racist

Aug 28, 2014

When the Columbia Daily Tribune published an editorial cartoon about looting in Ferguson, Managing Editor Jim Robertson said the intent was to be provocative. What some readers saw was racism. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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An editorial cartoon by Gary McCoy, published in the August 20, 2014 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune, drew cries of racism from readers.

In a Letter to the Editor, one Tribune reader worried that the cartoon's depictions of negative racial stereotypes would "propagate the notion that Missouri is a racist, backwater region."

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Earnest Perry said the Tribune's editorial editors should have been more aware of how their audience might react to the provocative image. But he also said readers who didn't see the cartoon on the original editorial page are missing important context.

When you look at the page in its entirety, it provides the context that you need to understand the editorial stance of the Columbia Daily Tribune. If you aren't getting that, if you’re only reading the subsequent chatter after it's printed and you don't see it in its entirety, then you're going to skewed view of the entire issue.