Why political cartoons are important
Political cartoons are an integral component in the framework of political journalism. They offer a brightly coloured alternative to formal news reporting, providing light relief from the ever-increasingly gloomy political discourse. With the ability to distil news and opinion into a caricature, cartoons present accessible and instant commentary and analysis of current affairs.
Cartoons are a unique form of journalism which contrast with conventional forms of communication. The images can cast a powerful interpretation on the day’s news. They explain and explore stories in manners that articles cannot. More effective than writing or video, they capture the imitable human nature of their subjects in order to humanise the topic they depict.
‘The great thing about a political cartoon is that it sums up the state of play at any moment in politics. It’s clever, funny, amusing, it informs and entertains us. It does all the things in one drawing that a newspaper does throughout all of its pages.’
– Rt Hon George Osborne
The satirical character of this form of journalism adds to its appeal. By combining humour with the latest political news, cartoonists can reinforce their messaging, focusing on the frequently ridiculous nature of stories. Nevertheless, rather than despise this cross-examination, politicians regularly defend them, using their depictions as indications of their relevance in public life.
Cartoons do not only act as news sources, but they can translate into a historical record of the political climate. In a time when journalism is constantly evolving, political cartoons have remained a timeless method of political commentary. Particularly in a time of tremendous volumes of media output, the ability of cartoons to communicate a compelling and comprehensive message has undisputedly stood the test of time.
‘Often long after you’ve forgotten the details of the story, it’s their images which sum up the mood of the times.’
– Adam Boulton, Sky News
“If a picture says a thousand words, a cartoon says a million, and they’re an absolutely crucial aspect of news and how we communicate with each other.”
– Kate Andrews, Associate Director, Institute of Economic Affairs
At Ellwood Atfield, we are honoured to annually host the Political Cartoon of the Year Awards to celebrate the UK’s political cartoons and cartoonists. See what happened at last year’s awards here.
Follow the links above to view the entries and cast your vote.
The winners will be announced on the 3rd of December.