By Camille Douglas
Knowing who your audience is one of the most important things to remember when becoming a journalist. It’s one of the first things that JRN professors even teach students in the classrooms. Martin Rowson, a political cartoonist, may just be an expert in understanding his audience, as he observes and depends on their analysis, as well as his, regarding political figures in order formulate hilarious cartoons that pokes fun at politician’s beliefs, ideas and actions.
Rowson himself has a strong, very blunt personality, not afraid to say or do anything that
It’s no question that his personality translates into his work, as his drawings are very unfiltered and bold.
An interesting thing I thought while Rowson was giving his lecture was that he considers himself a journalist. I was a little taken aback by this as I didn’t understand how a political cartoonist is a journalist, but as he explained his work, I started to realize his work’s purpose. As it turns out, a political cartoonist’s purpose is much like a journalist’s. While he isn’t the typical type of journalist that interviews and writes articles, the drawings he creates each tell stories. Stories about the political leaders of the world. With his creations, Rowson does his best to explain and try to make sense of the political world. He tries to represent the whole, or at least the majority of the people and what they may think. The uniqueness in his work allows him questions and challenges the minds of political leaders. Like a journalist, he observes politicians, follows up with research, and fact-checks the politicians before he formulates his cartoons. As he said himself, he is there to “humanize and expose” the politicians and as a journalist, he is serving as part of the checks and balance system. I just wonder how many times he has been sued for some of his most insulting, though very funny, cartoons. He doesn’t give a care about the countless number of hate notes or death threats he receives from others. Instead, he choses to focus solely on improving his work.
When looking at the political cartoons found in the U.S. media and the U.K.’s, there is a clear difference. U.K.’s cartoons are far more uncensored and bold. As Rowson flipped through some of his most notable pieces of work, I was astounded to see how unfiltered his depiction of political leaders was. For some of the cartoons, I couldn’t believe that some of these were printed in highly respected newspapers, like The Guardian. I feel that if some of his cartoons were printed in the U.S., Rowson would face much more scrutiny and censorship. I guess this just all goes to show that British humor and American humor is very different. Therefore, each country’s medias regulations is different because of the kind of humor that seems to be allowed and accepted by the public.