Officials at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Say They Parted Ways with Longtime Editorial Cartoonist Rob Rogers Because He Refused to Be Edited or Collaborate. Media Experts, However, Say Cartoons Are Harder to Tweak Than Columns, and Their Artists Are Usually Afforded More Independence [Derived Headline]

By Santoni, Matthew | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Officials at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Say They Parted Ways with Longtime Editorial Cartoonist Rob Rogers Because He Refused to Be Edited or Collaborate. Media Experts, However, Say Cartoons Are Harder to Tweak Than Columns, and Their Artists Are Usually Afforded More Independence [Derived Headline]


Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Officials at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette say they parted ways with longtime editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers because he refused to be edited or collaborate. Media experts, however, say cartoons are harder to tweak than columns, and their artists are usually afforded more independence.

Rogers, an editorial cartoonist at the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press for more than 30 years, announced on Twitter Thursday that he had been fired after weeks of conflict over cartoons and ideas he’d submitted that were never published. Rogers told multiple outlets he’d disagreed with the paper’s new editorial director, Keith Burris, over criticism of President Trump in his cartoons

A statement from “The Editorial Board” that ran Friday in the Post-Gazette read: “There has never been any intention to silence or suppress Mr. Rogers. Nor would we ever ask him to violate the dictates of his conscience. Rather, we have sought to engage in the necessary journalistic practices of editing, gatekeeping and collaboration.”

But Kelly McBride, vice president of the Poynter Institute and an expert in journalistic ethics, said opinion-page editors traditionally have a little less leeway over the tone and content of cartoonists’ contributions when compared to columnists.

“It used to be, if you were a local news editor, you had a handful of people who carried out different jobs, they spoke to different audiences. You wanted diversity so people can find a voice they like, someone who provoked them,” McBride said. “With editorial cartoonists, you usually have only one, and your choices as an editor are generally to run a piece or not.”

“Editing” a cartoon can be more difficult than honing the arguments of a written column, she said, because editorial cartoons are a more “artistic” medium.

“It’s generally harder to give feedback; to get a cartoonist to change the message,” said McBride.

A statement from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists said the firing was a mistake given Rogers’s popularity. The group dismissed the editors’ justification for firing him.

“It’s as simple as this: Rogers was fired for refusing to do cartoons extolling Trump. Let that sink in,” read a statement signed by the association board and its president, Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley. “The firing of Rogers and the absence of his cartoons from the editorial pages is a blow to free expression and to the existence of a free and open marketplace of ideas.”

Burris did not respond to the Tribune-Review’s requests for comment. …

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Officials at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Say They Parted Ways with Longtime Editorial Cartoonist Rob Rogers Because He Refused to Be Edited or Collaborate. Media Experts, However, Say Cartoons Are Harder to Tweak Than Columns, and Their Artists Are Usually Afforded More Independence [Derived Headline]
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