“A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s on old (perhaps even trite) saying – but when you’re referring to the impact of editorial cartooning, many times it’s an understatement.

That is why the Cayman Compass is proud to feature the work of not one, but two, editorial cartoonists on our opinion pages. In each issue of the newspaper, Monday through Friday, readers will find a cartoon, exclusive to the Compass, that represents a visual take on topics of interest to the Cayman Islands community.

The Compass Editorial Board invests a great deal of attention, care and effort into our written editorials, which average between 500 and 600 words. Along with the front page news stories, this column is among the most rigorously vetted items in the newspaper. Each editorial is debated, drafted, revised, edited and proofread several times before it appears in the Compass.

That does not mean we never make a mistake in an editorial – perfection is an aspiration, not a daily metric – but we strive to construct editorials that are of the best possible quality given the restrictions of deadlines and human fallibility.

We hold our editorial cartoons to a similar standard. While we give our cartoonists great creative license, we do not allow them absolute free rein in expressing their individual opinions. Rather, we ensure that our editorial cartoons align with the overall voice of the Compass as an institution.

Each cartoon is vetted and edited as thoroughly as any story. Many initial submissions are kicked back to the cartoonist for revision (“back to the drawing board”), or else scrapped outright.

As a result, many of the cartoons we do accept for publication are as powerful as any editorial, and oftentimes resonate with our readership in a more immediate and visceral manner than we could hope to achieve with a 500-word column. (Indeed, some of the strongest reactions from our readers – positive as well as critical – have arisen in response to single-frame cartoons.)

Many people might think that cartoons are supposed to be “funny” – and the Compass does devote a page (and two pages in Friday’s Weekender) to syndicated comic strips. However, a differentiating characteristic of an editorial cartoon is that humor is not a goal unto itself, but is a means to an end; it’s a way to engage the audience in order to make a serious point.

This being the final week of 2016, today we present a selection of cartoons that have been published in the Compass throughout the year. In our opinion, these are some of the most insightful and amusing pieces of work appearing anywhere in our newspaper (period), on the most important issues facing our country.

After reviewing our “editor’s choices,” we think you will have a renewed appreciation for the energy, talent and wit of our cartoonists: “Caymanman” (AKA George Nowak), whose history drawing cartoons for the Compass goes back more than 40 years; and Jake Fuller, a trained journalist who has decades of experience as a professional editorial cartoonist, primarily in Florida. Although somewhat distant geographically, Mr. Fuller has become a keen observer of Cayman’s issues (politics as well as foibles).

We hope you have enjoyed the cartoons that have appeared in this newspaper in 2016. As we prepare to enter 2017, we are looking forward to another year of insightful work from the Compass’s cartoonists.

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