Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATE: 'CSM' Cartoonist Clay Bennett Talks to E&P about His Move to Chattanooga Paper

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATE: 'CSM' Cartoonist Clay Bennett Talks to E&P about His Move to Chattanooga Paper

Article excerpt

Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett is leaving The Christian Science Monitor to join The Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press for several reasons.

"I've had a hankering to get back to a metro paper," said Bennett, who joins the Times Free Press on Jan. 1 -- exactly 10 years to the day he started at the Monitor. "There's something to having a real constituency you can see."

This also means a number of Bennett's Times Free Press cartoons will be local, which he looks forward to. "Local cartoons give readers what they can't get anywhere else," said Bennett, who mostly did national and international commentary for the Monitor -- and will continue to do those kinds of cartoons for the Times Free Press along with local ones.

Bennett will replace Bruce Plante, who recently left the Times Free Press for the Tulsa (Okla.) World.

The Monitor cartoonist told E&P that he heard good things about the Times Free Press from Plante, including praise about the "latitude" the paper allows its cartoonist. And given that the paper has two editorial pages (one liberal and one conservative), it would be difficult to "go outside what the newspaper professes" in its opinions, Bennett said wryly.

"My political leanings are more liberal than not, but a lot of cartoons I do don't take a partisan position," he said.

Bennett, 49, is also looking forward to working in Chattanooga, a city he has known and loved since he was a teen. Indeed, it will be a return to the south for Bennett, who worked for newspapers such as the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. And the South Carolina native went to high school and college in two Alabama towns along the Tennessee River, which Chattanooga also borders.

"I'm starting to feel a bit like Huck Finn," he quipped, adding: "I've always had this emotionally conflicted relationship with the South, but I can't deny the influence it's had on my life. …

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