a recent article on The Huffington Post, editor-turned-freelance writer
Jason Notte said: “If newspaper’s death knell is ringing, editorial cartoonists
are pulling the rope.” Ignoring the fact that his chest-thumping piece, “Ten
Features that Are Dying with your Newspaper,” was yet another in the
newspapers-are-dead-do-you-hear-me-dead! category Huffpo is apparently
trying to corner, I kinda like the moniker “rope puller.” So, let’s yank
on the cord once again with the latest in layoffs and buyouts! —JP
cartoonist Robert Ariail announced March 16 that he would rather resign
from The State, his longtime base for lampooning some of the most powerful
world, national, state and local figures, rather than accept a cut to part-time
a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 and 2000, turned down a part-time
job that had been offered in the wake of cost-cutting measures taken by
the paper’s parent, The McClatchy Company, and instead accepted a buyout.
before, the paper laid off 38 people — 11 percent of its work force — and
cut employee wages up to 10%.
who joined The State in 1984, said he planned to continue his work through
United Media syndicate, which serves more than 600 newspapers and magazines,
and Daryl Cagle’s site.
to find another job in editorial cartooning,” said Ariail. “I’m 53. It’s
difficult to remake myself, and I don’t want to.”
laid off was Ariail’s boss for the past 15 years, vice president and editorial
page editor Brad Warthen.
is probably one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” Warthen
In a letter
posted on Daryl Cagle’s blog, Ariail later wrote, “Sorry I haven’t gotten
back to you before now—I’ve been inundated with mail, e-mail and phone
calls that I’ve tried to answer and thank everyone for all of their kind
words and thoughts. I never thought getting laid off would lead to so much
work! As for getting the boot, it wasn’t a surprise. I saw this coming
for nearly a year. It still stings nonetheless.
just started a web site: robertariail.com that I will post my new cartoons
on (as well as an archive of my work from my 25 plus years with The State.)
And as tough as this market is, I’m going to start sending out my resume
to papers and see if anything comes from it. One hopeful sign already is
that my publisher told me not to be surprised if he called me to return
to work at the end of 2009 (the buy-out I took legally prevents them from
rehiring during the calendar year.)
it’s not so bad. I’ve always had an optimistic outlook and I believe that
if one door closes another opens — you just have to find that door!”
later, Bill Day, who has been at the Memphis Commercial Appeal for the
last 10 years, was suddenly laid-off as part of cutbacks by corporate parent
a terrible shock. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Day told Comic Riffs
blogger Michael Cavna, who reached the cartoonist by phone while he packed
up his personal belongings in the newsroom. “I’ve got a family to support
and my 401(k) is shot and I might lose my house. I’m a total wreck right
now. I’m at a total loss of even what to think.”
to Alan Gardner of The Daily Cartoonist, Day was asked to have his office
cleaned out in an hour, but after protesting that it would take much longer
than that to clear out his work, they gave him the rest of the afternoon.
been a wonderful job to work for [Otis Standford, his editor]. He gave
me complete freedom. It was wonderful. I loved every minute of it. I can’t
believe it’s over. I love the city, the paper,” Day said.
to continue his syndicated cartoons through United Media.
In an online ‘exit
interview’ Day told Cavna, “I’ve been in political cartooning my whole
life. I’m 61. I’ve been in Memphis for 10 years … and I was a staff artist
back [here] in the late ’70s [before going to Detroit]. I love Memphis.”
Day added, “I
don’t understand why, when you’re going to a visual medium [online], why
you want to get rid of cartoonists. It’s made for cartoonists. … We’re
like the Jiminy Cricket of the newspaper. We’re the conscience.”
3, Alan Gardner posted: “Decrement the staff count by one this morning.
From a couple of sources it looks like Gary Brookins, the award winning
editorial cartoonist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch has been laid off
along with 90 others.
been with the paper since 1979 and is syndicated through King Features.
He also produces the comic panel Pluggers and co-produces Jeff MacNelly’s
Shoe. He was also a nominee for best editorial cartoonist last year by
the National Cartoonist Society.
long-time editorial cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle, left the
paper in April after accepting a buyout offer. Meyer had been with the
newspaper since 1981.
will deprive me of one of my favorite moments of the day: When he would
bring in three or four rough sketches of editorial cartoons,” Editorial
Page Editor John Diaz wrote. “I’ll also miss his insights
— and, often, levity — at our weekly planning meetings. Tom is every
bit as quick-witted in the office as his cartoons are on the page. However,
I am happy to report that Tom does have plans to freelance or syndicate his
and, once he does, we will be among his customers.”
we went press came news that The Vancouver Sun had abruptly laid off Roy
Peterson, 73. He had been with the Sun for 47
starting there in 1962. Peterson’s work has also appeared in Punch, Time
and The New York Times, and for many years MacLean’s magazine. In that
time he has won seven National Newspaper Awards, the most in the history
of the awards in any category.
are the stuff of legend in Canadian cartooning,” a blogger posted on the
ACEC website, “his wit and artwork second to none, as proven by his 7 National
Newspaper Awards. …There will no doubt be a wave of anger moving through
our waters at this news. Frankly, for his position at the Sun to come to
an end in this fashion is appalling.”
in an e-mail sent out April 18, Ted Rall wrote, “I suppose it would be
wrong for the president of the AAEC not to have been laid off, so the fates
have set things straight.
has laid off eight people from United Media, including me. Since 2006 I
was working three days a week as Editor of Acquisitions &
Development, where I signed the comic strips ‘The Knight Life’ by Keith Knight,
Matt Bors’ editorial cartoons, ‘Family Tree’ by Signe Wilkinson, ‘Minimum
Security’ by Stephanie McMillan and several other features of which I am
huge financial hit, obviously, but I have other projects to work on, especially
books and animation. What I will miss most is the opportunity to reshape
the comics and other pages with material that was less conventional. I
just hope these layoffs end soon…”