Friday, September 26, 2008

Wichita Eagle cartoonist latest to be shown the door

The Wichita Business Journal is reporting that Wichita Eagle editorial cartoonist Richard Crowson has been laid off, the latest in about a half dozen staff cartoonists let go in recent months, and one of dozens of cartoonists jettisoned in recent years as newspapers continue to struggle with declining revenues, an economic downturn and online competition.

“I understand the circumstances newspapers are having to deal with, economically with the Internet,” Crowson told the Wichita Business Journal.

"They're just wanting to tighten down a little bit on the budget and adjust to the new economic realities."

On Sept. 16, the Wichita Eagle announced six of its employees were being laid off and another 16 had accepted voluntary buyouts, representing a 6 percent reduction in the newspaper’s workforce. The Eagle said it already had laid off about 2 percent of its workforce in 2008.

Its parent company, The McClatchy Co., announced it would reduce its workforce company-wide by 10 percent, or 1,150 full-time employees.

Crowson had been with the Kansas newspaper since 1985, working first as a newsroom artist doing illustrations, maps, and graphics. In 1987, the paper created the cartoonist job for Crowson.

Crowson says he isn’t sure what’s next for his career. He says he will take time off and enjoy not having a daily deadline. But he also is looking into other types of art and illustration projects.

“I like to keep my options open."

To view a video about Crowson's process of creating cartoons, click here.

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