Editorial cartoonists' firings point to steady decline of newspaper opinion pages

 

The McClatchy newspaper chain fired three of its cartoonists in one fell swoop on Tuesday.

The company, referring to the "continuing evolution" of its retrenchment strategy, has decided that daily cartoons will no longer be published in its newspapers. It is not the first medium to do so, citing economic or other reasons(1)(2).

The cartoonists disappearing from its pages are: Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee in California, also president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Joel Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, and Kevin Siers(TW) of the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.

Ohman and Siers worked full-time, while Pett was on a freelance contract. All of them have a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning to their credit.

Editorial cartoonists' firings point to steady decline of newspaper opinion pages
Jack Ohman's last cartoon in Sacramento Bee (11/07/2023)

Editorial cartoonists' firings point to steady decline of newspaper opinion pages 1
Last cartoon by Kevin Siers in Charlotte Observer (12/07/2023). Siers began drawing cartoons for the Observer in 1987.

Editorial cartoonists' firings point to steady decline of newspaper opinion pages 2
Cartoon by Joel Pett in Lexington Herald-Leader (12/07/2023)

The first news of these layoffs could be read mid-week on The Daily Cartoonist blog (1)(2).

For the Associated Press, which has spoken to the dismissed cartoonists and several others, the firing of three Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonists in a single day is a punch in the gut to the profession and illustrates the decline of newspaper opinion pages.

He notes that it is "a stark reminder of how this influential art form is dying and also shows a general trend away from opinion content by a struggling print media industry".

The McClatchy Group's history began in 1857, when James McClatchy helped launch The Daily Bee, a four-page newspaper in Sacramento, California, which was the seed of its current digital network that covers local markets from California to Florida and from Washington state to Washington D.C.


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