Marshall Ramsey is an exemplar of the local cartoonist who has not only managed to survive but thrive in a collapsing newspaper environment. A long time staffer for Mississippi's The Clarion-Ledger, Ramsey writes columns, does a weekly statewide radio and TV show, makes frequent public appearances, and interacts with his readers on a daily basis on social media. While many cartoonists do this, Ramsey has applied a raw honesty and openness, especially about his health as a cancer survivor, to build a loyal following.
As for cartooning, he says, "Rex got it. He understood this simple truth: The closer the cartoons are to the readers, the more impact they will have. Our state flag needs changing but we don't have the political courage to take it on. Our tax and service cutting Lt. Governor is caught trying to have a $2 million access road built to his gated neighborhood while bridges are being shut down. And our legislature wanted to allow guns into SEC football games. Like that would end well.
"I'm the luckiest cartoonist in the world and I know it."
[Throughout his life, Rex Babin championed those who focused on state and local issues in editorial cartoons, a field that he and other cartoonists felt was regularly overlooked by journalism contests. The "Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning" was launched in 2017 to celebrate those working in this niche. To that end, we will be showcasing each cartoonist who entered the contest this year, one or two each day in alphabetical order (more or less), leading up to the AAEC Convention in Sacramento, CA, and the announcement of the award winner on Saturday, Sept. 22.]