Page from the magazine Private Eye, seen here
It is not very common to know what cartoonists of a certain prestige earn. There is no “official” rate, the normal thing is that they are “freelancers” (here they are self-employed), who work for various media and their rates depend on their firm’s quotation and what they are capable of agreeing, among other things. In other words, everyone makes a living as best they can.
Around here, it is commonplace to hear that people earn little and badly and that kicking their arses is the order of the day, but there is an English cartoonist who has been the highest earner in the company he has been working for for more than 30 years.
According to the satirical magazine Private Eye, Matt Pritchett, the cartoonist for The Telegraph receives £650,000 a year plus benefits, Matt earns about £200,000 more than the editor of the paper.
Preventing the leak
Crazy, that’s about 730,000 euros a year, almost 61,000 euros a month. Too much? It seems that the Telegraph has decided to give him this huge note so that he won’t be tempted by competing offers.
The Telegraph is also said to be paying Matt for his Suffolk Rectory home, where he spends his weekends, and an interest-free mortgage to buy his holiday home in the Dordogne.
The magazine claims that this hefty salary is because the Telegraph wants to ensure that Matt is not “poached” by the competition. According to Private Eye, The Daily Mail and The Times have already made him offers and his departure would result in the loss of a large number of readers and revenue.
Private Eye closes with a “fun fact”: the Telegraph pays £25,000 a year to its graduate trainee journalists – for the price of one cartoonist they could take on 26 reporters.
Amidst the debates about whether Matt’s cartoons are worth the money and all that, the Twitter banter is getting a lot of play.
“I’ve done some maths and have come to the conclusion that, on that salary and additional bonuses, Matt will be rich enough to be able to buy the whole county of Hampshire when he retires.
With a salary of £650,000 he comes out at around £2,500 per cartoon, (about €2,900) which sounds almost reasonable considering Matt’s cartoons average about 6 lines of ink.” (@Eff__Jay)
There are those who make jokes about their jokes
£650k a year and a clause in his contract stipulating that his colleagues must pretend on Twitter that they find his cartoons funny . Matt’s agent really nailed it(@hrtbps)
Others aren’t so amused and point out the outrageous pay gap:
I doubt the veracity of the absolute figures of Matt’s salary, as the only reference is that Private Eye note which is just an opinionated text without any source, although I don’t think it’s all a lie. But who knows.
It wouldn’t be the first time that economic wars have been waged to catch cartoonists. In 1992, The Telegraph paid a small fortune to get Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor to take their Alex strip from The Independent to the Telegraph.
At the end of February, the Telegraph celebrated 30 years of Matt Pritchett cartoons in the paper.
To look for a similar case in Spain, I can only remember Mingote. If anyone knows of another example, whistle away.
In 2009, sources of dubious solvency said that the ABC newspaper would pay Mingote the 800,000 euros that the cartoonist had lost in the Madoff scam as part of an agreement in which, among other things, his wife, Isabel Mingote, was guaranteed a salary on a par with the newspaper’s deputy editors, a car with a driver and insurance to cover everything. At the time it was speculated that the formula would be the creation of a pension fund that would guarantee her a monthly income for life in the agreed amount.
Here is that story.