Herald Leader Editor Stands By Decision To Move Doonesbury Cartoons

Mar 12, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky.  The editor of the Lexington Herald Leader newspaper is addressing some confusion surrounding a decision concerning this week’s Doonesbury comic strip.  Peter Baniak says some are using social media sites to erroneously report that the paper is censoring the often controversial cartoon.  He says that’s not the case at all.

“Gary Trudeau’s syndicate made available to newspapers an alternative strip to use on the comics because they knew that there would be some concern from papers about using it.  We are using those alternative strips on the comics page themselves, and then the actual original cartoons; all of the original strips for this week that Gary Trudeau had drawn will run on Saturday’s opinion page.”

Baniak says when they learned that the subject matter for this week concerned a controversial Texas abortion law, his paper decided it wasn’t a good fit for what is usually regarded as a family-friendly section.

“It happens every once in a while.  I would say once every six to eight months there’s one that comes up where we get a little notice that we might want to take a look at ahead of time, and it really just depends on how you handle it; it’s kind of a case by case thing.  It depends on the subject matter, it depends on the placement and where it is, and you just sort of look at it and try to decide what is the best way to use it.”

Baniak says the decision represents an acceptable compromise for readers as well as free speech advocates.