Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
January 3, 2016
This week I received an email from the Vice President of Content at MLive Media Group notifying me that they would no longer contract for my services under our existing freelance agreement. It was not a surprise. This past May, MLive cut the number of cartoons they paid me for from weekly to monthly. During the summer, I continued provide a weekly cartoon along with commentary for posting on MLive.com. (Up to that point my cartoons were exclusive to the print editions.) I had hoped to demonstrate the value of Michigan-focused editorial cartoons in an online format. While it is clear now my efforts did not close the sale, I did very much enjoy sharing and engaging online, and I’m happy to have had the experience.
I would like to thank those at MLive I had the pleasure to work with, particularly my editors: Ed Golder, Paul Keep and Dan Hawkins — each consummate professionals. They challenged me by allowing me space to run while when necessary reminding me of the bounds of common sense and good grammar. The benefits of working with people you respect cannot be overstated.
Despite my disappointment with their decision, I would also like thank MLive and predecessor, the Grand Rapids Press. Editorial cartoons in newspapers — especially local editorial cartoons — are a truly American institution, and I’ve appreciated the opportunity to be a participant.
And I would like to thank you, the readers for taking the time to be readers. For a cartoonist, that’s really all that’s needed. But I also appreciated when you shared your reactions — from kind encouragements to the angry dissents. (Okay, sure, I found the occasional unibomber-like manifesto a bit unsettling, but otherwise the feedback was all good.)
I hope to find other venues because I think editorial cartoons are valuable. They somehow roll up a chaotic mix of satire, exaggeration and unfairness into tidy packages that (when done well) provoke thought and reveal truth. Anyway, that’s what I aim for.
All the best,