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July 24, 2017

AAEC Makes Statement On Nick Anderson's Firing

imageThe AAEC through its board of directors issued a statement Wednesday about the recent firing of editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson by the Houston Chronicle.

The Chronicle is a Hearst Communications publication. Anderson joined the paper in 2006.

The Board of Directors of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has released a statement on Nick Anderson and his firing by the Houston Chronicle/Hearst Communications:
"The firing of Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson is a misguided, short-term cost cutting maneuver by the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Communications. The elimination of his position now means there isn't one on-staff newspaper editorial cartoonist in the entire state of Texas to provide local visual commentary and hold the state government accountable to its citizens.

"Editorial cartoonists are a historically important and powerful component of American journalism. Editorial cartoons are very popular with readers; they look to their local cartoonist to provide satirical observations of their representatives and government officials. Especially in these times where our country's free press is under attack by the current administration, the work of editorial cartoonists resonates with Americans and provide a vital component of the political dialogue that our democracy needs in order to thrive.

"While we acknowledge the financial challenges publishers face with the online market, eliminating original content is not the answer.

"We denounce the actions of Hearst Communications in their short-sighted cost cuts at the expense of the health of the editorial cartoonist profession and journalism in general."
Signing the letter are Ann Telnaes (AAEC President), Pat Bagley (President-Elect), Nate Beeler (Vice President), Monte Wolverton (Secretary-Treasurer) and Adam Zyglis, (immediate past President). Three board members also signed: Ed Hall, Kevin Siers and Signe Wilkinson. Anderson is a past president of the organization, and is probably still best known for winning the Pulitzer in 2005 while at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Although staffed editorial cartoonist firings seem more rare than they were in the previous decade, that's in part because there are far fewer position out there that could conceivably be at risk. I believe the most thriving papers find some way to use an editorial cartoonist on staff: local cartoons, web site enhancements, sales-through-personality. Anderson is widely syndicated and highly skilled and won't see his voice silenced by the move by any means, making the loss one that gets passed to paper and readers.
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

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