The Chicago Tribune picked up what is known in the journalism biz as a non-perishable piece from the Associated Press on how cartoons get into the New Yorker. Having written several stories about said process and organization, I have an expert opinion on this. (Wouldn't you be surprised otherwise?)
The cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, is a class A goof and great guy. I've had several great conversations with him by phone or in person that turned into multiple articles, including two in the New York Times (one on the launch of their online searchable licensable archive, and another on the cartoonist behind "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog") and one in eCompany Now on the business behind cartoon licensing (eCompany Now is now Business 2.0).
The licensing business is known as The Cartoon Bank, which was a separate business that Mankoff founded and then sold to the New Yorker about six years ago around the time he was hired as Cartoon Editor.
The AP writer missed a few interesting facts. The writer says that the fee for contract artists starts at $1,200. He doesn't note that that's the starting price and that many regular cartoonists have at least one cartoon in every week or close to it. Roz Chast might be making $75,000 a year or more just from the first printing rights.
Further, many of the cartoonists license their non-accepted pieces to The Cartoon Bank which licenses them, generating revenue even from those items. And The Cartoon Bank licenses cartoons that did appear in print, as well. Mankoff told me last year that many cartoonists are seeing as much revenue from licensing and reprints as they were from primary creation.