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Dave Astor laid off from Editor and Publisher

Dave Astor, the senior editor at Editor and Publisher who covered syndication news, has been laid off in a cost-cutting measure. Dave has been with E&P since 1983 when he was hired as an associate editor to cover advertising and syndication. Shortly thereafter he began covering syndicate columnists and cartoonists exclusively. In 2000 he was promoted to senior editor.

Dave tells me that his greatest experiences covering the cartoonists was watching the comics page diversify since 1985 with more female and minority representation and having the opportunity to meet the cartoonists he covered professionally. Two giants in the field that he admired and was excited to meet included Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in 1985 and later Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. “It’s been wonderful covering cartoon creators, most of them are great people. I’m going to miss covering them” he said.

Some of the things he hasn’t enjoyed having to cover include the shrinking number of comics and the many job loses in the editorial cartooning community. He said, “I have written so much about editorial cartoonists losing their jobs, I felt for them, but now I know what it feels like at a gut level.”

Looking to the future, Dave would like to expand opportunities related to a humor column that he writes for a local paper in his area.

On a personal note, for those of us who have had a long interest in newspaper cartooning, Dave’s work for E&P was a must read. He is definitely the founding father of syndication reporting. Since starting this blog, I don’t know how many times I had a “what would Dave Astor do” moment, but there have been many. For these three years, he has been the one I measured myself against and each time he linked to something I wrote was like getting a nod of approval. I still hope that someday our paths will cross and we can enjoy swapping stories of the profession we’ve been dedicated to cover.

UPDATE: Dave’s work email is no longer in service. If you’d like to contact him, please do so at his personal email: dastor[at]earthlink[dot]net (replace [at] with @ and [dot] with .)

Community Comments

#1 Tom Heintjes
October/22/2008
@ 8:17 am

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by this sort of news any longer, but I am in this case. Dave was always the consummate pro and a real gentleman. I enjoyed meeting him at several NCS Reuben weekends. I hope he’ll find a way to remain connected to the industry.

#2 David Reddick
October/22/2008
@ 8:31 am

This is such disheartening news. Dave is one of the nicest people and has been so to me for years since my old days as a staff editorial cartoonist. I am shocked at his being laid off. It further deepens the painful reality of what is going on in the newspaper industry as a whole. Good luck to Dave… and Alan, I am thankful, personally, for your work here and for being MY, and so many others’ daily “must read.”

#3 Charles Brubaker
October/22/2008
@ 8:31 am

Wow, that’s a genuinely shocking news.

I wonder what this means for syndication reportings on E&P.

#4 Karen Montague-Reyes
October/22/2008
@ 8:35 am

Oh no! No, no, no! He is such a nice man and I thoroughly enjoyed his work. I really hope he can move on quickly to bigger and brighter things.

#5 Mike Thompson
October/22/2008
@ 8:43 am

This is horrible news. Yes, not only is David one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, he did a superb job covering the cartooning business for decades. Thank you David for all that you contributed to our profession through your stories and columns.

Mike

#6 Frank Rizzo
October/22/2008
@ 8:52 am

I’ve never met Dave Astor, but as the person in charge of my newspaper’s comics and syndication rights, I checked his stories on E&P faithfully, several times a day. I’m shocked by this. Not only is it going to make my job just a little more difficult, it feels like I lost a valued friend.

#7 JP Trostle
October/22/2008
@ 9:01 am

This is both sad and irritating news. For many years Dave was practically the only person reporting on our industry, and he almost single-handedly kept the spotlight on the recent “plight” of editorial cartoonists. (In fact, in 2006 the AAEC gave him our Ink Bottle Award for his many years of coverage.)

Not to mention, he was a great guy to talk shop with…

#8 Tim Jackson
October/22/2008
@ 9:16 am

I always appreciated how Dave put out information on we freelance cartoonists who are not connected with any big syndicates or on the staff of major newspapers. We have lost an important spokesman.

You will be greatly missed Dave!

TLJ

#9 Jenny Robb
October/22/2008
@ 9:45 am

Dave also did a wonderful job reporting news about cartoon exhibitions, collections, and special events. What a terrible loss! I guess I can cancel my subscription to E&P now.

-Jenny

#10 Shane Johnson
October/22/2008
@ 10:01 am

He probably had no more syndicated cartoonists left to actually cover. Just sayin…

#11 Marshall Ramsey
October/22/2008
@ 10:08 am

I am very sorry to read this. Dave is a great guy, a true pro and has always done a great job covering the cartooning profession. I hope he lands on his feet — I know E&P will be a lesser publication now.

#12 Clay Jones
October/22/2008
@ 10:31 am

I wish the best of luck for Dave. He’s a great guy and provided a great service not just for cartoonists, but for journalism. I met Dave at my first convention in Memphis in 91 and he promised to send me a copy of the magazine he worked for, which I had never heard of. He’s a man of his word as I received a copy the next week.

What does this mean for our profession when E&P doesn’t even find it worth covering. Crap, even the guys who write about us are being laid off.

#13 Steve Greenberg
October/22/2008
@ 11:03 am

I’m so saddened to hear this news. David was there for decades, the only survivor from the 1980s on the whole staff, and he was important in my being Editor & Publisher’s
regular weekly cartoonist for three years from 1995-1998. Plus he was a real pro and a great guy who didn’t care if you were a big-name syndicated cartoonist or a lesser-known one. We spent a lot of time chatting at AAEC and NCS conventions (some said he looked like a much taller version of me)… I hope he lands firmly on his feet.
Not much reason to read E&P now…

#14 Lucas Turnbloom
October/22/2008
@ 11:20 am

Oh, wow.

Dave was always such a great guy to talk with. And his coverage of the Comic biz was excellent.

I do wish him the best of luck on his humor column.

#15 Bill Holbrook
October/22/2008
@ 11:29 am

I met Dave Astor at my first Reubens dinner, in 1985. I’ve regarded him as an invaluable voice for the profession ever since. His reporting for E&P has been tireless in keeping us all up-to-date on syndicate news, and to say his column will be missed is the understatement of the year.

#16 Drew Litton
October/22/2008
@ 12:04 pm

I am just stunned by this news. Dave Astor is such an amazing guy who has championed our causes and given us all a voice in the newspaper industry. Dave is one of the most caring and compassionate people I have ever known. And he, much like Jay Kennedy, was and is really one of us. I’m going to miss him and the industry is going miss him. But I know that Dave Astor will have many great opportunities ahead, because quality and talent ALWAYS wins out. And Dave has a bunch of both.

#17 Larry Levine
October/22/2008
@ 12:24 pm

This is terrible news, what Jerry Beck is to animation news is what David Astor is to syndicated comics. A very sad professional loss to the industry.

Back in 1988 when I began reading E&P for syndicate news (when it was still a weekly magazine), David’s weekly strip profiles & cartoonist interviews were always brilliant and informative.

#18 Jeff Darcy
October/22/2008
@ 12:53 pm

Quick, name another E&P writer……………
……………I can’t think of one either.

#19 Casey Shaw
October/22/2008
@ 2:09 pm

Wow. With all the bad news in the newspaper and magazine industry, this one really hits home. Best of luck Dave! And Alan, if I were you, I’d sign Dave up as a “Daily Cartoonist Guest Editor” as quickly as you can.

#20 Steve Greenberg
October/22/2008
@ 4:24 pm

Casey makes a good point. Alan, is there a way to utilize David’s talents here at dailycartoonist.com?

#21 Michael Cavna
October/22/2008
@ 4:41 pm

Dave, you covered our business passionately, for a longer period of time, than anyone. If you land at another outlet or start your own operation, please send word: As a reader, I’ll follow you there.

#22 Mike Peterson
October/22/2008
@ 7:18 pm

Dave has, of course, been a constant source of information through his writing, but I’ve also (like many here) been interviewed by him and he was accurate and insightful. It adds to a reporter’s credibility when people can say, “He got my story right, so I’m going to assume he’s getting the others right as well.” No, that shouldn’t be rare, but this editor can tell you that it certainly is.

Well, the beancounters in this industry have no respect for quality. They’ve lost a good man, and so I suppose he’s better off not laboring for those who don’t appreciate him.

But I hope he lands somewhere we can all find him!

Now let’s all go listen to the latest podcast at E&P and read their new blog so they can show us how hip they are instead of telling us what’s going on in the industry.

#23 Quint Nelson
October/22/2008
@ 9:57 pm

Editor & Publisher has slowly become irrelevant. With Mr Astor’s departure, it now is irrelevant.

#24 Guy Gilchrist
October/23/2008
@ 2:26 pm

I truly hope that this is God opening another, brightly colored, and richly rewarding door. Dave is not only a great personal friend, but an exceptional friend to the all in the cartooning business, and all us Higgins Ink tattooed Cartoon Clubbers.

#25 Mike Peterson
October/24/2008
@ 4:44 am

E&P’s reporter who’s not afraid to talk about being young and hip, Maegan Carberry, has a column about how young and hip reporters fear for a future in which good beat reporting is not respected. Seemed to me like a good spot to comment on their own decision to dump a solid beat reporter.

Since I couldn’t find an article on the E&P site about Dave’s departure, it appears to be the best place to voice an opinion there. I don’t think anybody in the outside world reads that blog, mind you, but the editors of the magazine do. I suppose. At least, the young, hip ones …

http://tinyurl.com/5ughoh

#26 Stephanie Piro
October/27/2008
@ 8:17 am

I was shocked to hear about this. Dave was the only reason I looked at E & P. He was knowledgable and supportive of cartoonists and our work. A real loss.

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