Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Cartoonist's Life after Losing Job

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Cartoonist's Life after Losing Job

Article excerpt

What does a laid-off edito- rial cartoonist do when openings for equivalent jobs are almost non-existent?

In Kirk Anderson's case, freelance cartooning and illustration -- including some work for the daily newspaper competing with his former employer.

Anderson, 38, was a thrice-weekly editorial cartoonist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press when the newspaper let him go this spring (E&P, April 28). Anderson was told it was for budgetary reasons, but wonders if his involvement with the Minnesota Newspaper Guild-Typographical Union also had something to do with it. Pioneer Press officials have declined to discuss Anderson's layoff with the media.

The union filed a grievance over the layoff, and the case is slated for an arbitration hearing. "We're hoping by the end of the year," said Mike Sweeney, the union's executive officer. The union says Anderson had seniority as a member of the Pioneer Press art department; the paper reportedly says Anderson was a "department of one" as editorial cartoonist.

During his last days at the Pioneer Press, Anderson publicly criticized the paper and Knight Ridder for eliminating a local cartoon voice, and not commenting to the media about his layoff. His words led the paper to kill Anderson's farewell cartoon (E&P, May 5).

"I may have burned a bridge back then, but the fire made me warm all over," he quipped during a Sept. 29 interview. Anderson added that, given the importance of the First Amendment to journalism and the opinionated nature of what editorial cartoonists do, "it would have been pretty counterintuitive and backward to clam up" after losing his job. …

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