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Why the Journal Sentinel laid off Stuart Carlson

Milwaukee magazine has tried to explain why the Journal Sentinel let go of its cartoonist Stuart Carlson who took a “voluntary” buyout this summer.

Longtime Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial cartoonist Stuart Carlson didn’t go quietly. “I was told they could not justify having a full-time staff position,” he says. “I voluntarily took the buyout – but voluntarily as when somebody puts a gun to your head and says, ‘Hand over your wallet.'”

His departure stunned many. “It’s very tragic,” says Bill Sanders, the former Milwaukee Journal cartoonist who retired in 1991. “Stuart is doing first-class work. I think they made a major mistake.

Not sure they really explain why, as they mostly write about the loss of cartooning jobs in the last couple of decades. The one new revelation is that after cutting Stuart’s job, they went to Gary Markstein their cartoonist that they reassigned to a designers position and asked him to provide local cartoons to which he declined. Good for him. Gary is the co=creator of Daddy’s Home.

Community Comments

#1 Stacy Curtis
October/28/2008
@ 10:29 am

That is an honorable thing Gary Markstein did by turning down their offer to draw local cartoons. You won’t see too many cartoonists do that. Bravo, Gary!

#2 Charles Brubaker
October/28/2008
@ 11:17 am

Few months ago I talked to Markstein on phone and I asked him if the editors wanted him to draw local cartoons for the paper again, with Carlson out of the way.

At the time, he said that the paper didn’t say anything about it.

#3 Aaron Taylor
October/28/2008
@ 11:20 am

It’s likely they asked Gary to provide cartoons on top of what he currently does as a designer with little or no additional compensation. Regardless, it’s nice to see another cartoonist watch the back of another.

I find it humorous that the papers forces Stuart out — feeling like editorial cartoons are a feature that they can do without — and then ask Gary to do them. Both are great cartoonists and deserve a lot more respect then they were shown by the Journal Sentinel.

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