Mark Fiore made history on Monday when he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Though Pulitzers for political cartoons have been around since the 1920s, Fiore's award was historic because it's the first time the Pulitzer has been awarded to a political cartoonist whose cartoons don't appear in print. That's right -- all of Fiore's cartoons appear on the web.
I love political cartoons and think it's really cool that internet-only cartoonists are getting the professional respect they deserve. Who knows, maybe the new Pulitzer will be given to a political cartoon that only appears on the iPhone? Hey, maybe Fiore should make an iPhone app so you can enjoy all his toons in one place? Oh, wait -- he has. And Apple rejected it.
Yes, it's a weird world when you're good enough for a Pulitzer, but not the App Store. The Nieman Journalism Lab reports that Fiore submitted his iPhone app, NewsToons, to Apple in December. Apple then proceeded to reject it because his satire "ridicules public figures." This isn't the first time that political caricature has run afoul of App Store rules; Tom Richmond's app featuring a cartoon Congress was vetoed in November, then almost immediately cleared for sale.
UPDATE: NYT is reporting Mr. Fiore has been "encouraged" by Apple to re-submit. So the lesson here? Win a Pulitzer, get a 2nd chance at the App Store.
Look Apple, I supported some of your bans in the past -- like your ban on sexy junk apps -- but political cartooning is slightly different. It's one of the few disciplines that blend art, current events, and humor in such a way that they can convey the entirety of a relevant and complex issue into in a simple picture (or in Fiore's case, a simple Flash animation). So how about you rethink your decision and allow his app into the store? It'd be a shame to see the first Pulitzer for political cartooning going to a cartoonist with an Android phone.