Satirical cartoons are a staple of Thailand's daily newspapers, and often pack a sharper political punch than the stories they accompany. To my foreign eye, it appears that some Thai cartoonists aren't terribly good at caricatures: you really need to squint to see the likeness. I assume draftsmanship plays second fiddle to the witticisms and wordplay. One exception is a contributor to The Nation newspaper, who goes by the pen name Stephff. With a wicked sense of humour and an unforgiving eye for the quirks of public personalities, Stephff, a Frenchman whose real name is Stephane Peray, always hits the mark. Naturally, with the political ferment in Bangkok these days, his cartoons are usually politically skewed, but he's tackled plenty of social and cultural topics, too. When UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Bangkok in 2004, Stephff drew a picture of him meeting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who had earlier rejected overseas outrage at his human-rights record by retorting: 'The UN is not my father.' Stephff drew Mr Thaksin whispering this sentence to an astonished Mr Annan. The UN chief was so tickled that he invited Stephff to his hotel suite and asked for a copy of the original artwork to keep. Now Stephff has started a new line in interactive cartooning. He has invited Nation readers to suggest ideas for future cartoons, saying their name may be credited alongside the artist's on the final version. The first one ran a few weeks ago, and it was a cracker: the discovery of a bomb plot by aliens against Mr Thaksin - complete with stern Thai cops nabbing a man wearing an alien suit. Stephff says the plan is to bring the reader closer to the newspaper: 'It doesn't mean I am out of ideas. It's just a fresh idea to push readers to participate more.' Media executives watching newspaper sales dwindle are increasingly fixated on building closer relationships with their audience. Many are fascinated by the interactivity of online sites, particularly blogs and forums. So we may be seeing more experiments like Stephff's. The New Yorker magazine, my favourite publication, does the same thing - in reverse. Every week, one of its cartoonists draws a picture, usually a bizarre twist on everyday life, and invites readers to submit captions. The editors pick the three funniest entrants, and the following week readers get to choose the winner. If your caption wins, you receive a signed copy of the cartoon; it will probably grow in value, thanks to the sterling reputation of New Yorker artwork. Stephff's work probably doesn't command such high resale value, but it's nice to open your daily newspaper and know that everyone is having a chuckle over an idea that you had, which was brought to life by a talented artist.