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San Antonio Express-News lays off John Branch

Earlier this week The San Antonio Express-News laid off 135 of their employees, 75 from their newsroom and their cartoonist John Branch was among those affected. John will remain at the paper until March 20th. He’s been at the paper since 1981, when he landed his “first real job.” Like many of the cartoonists that have been sent packing this last year, John is trying to take it all in and figure out what to do next. He feels he’s fortunate that he’s been at the paper for so long that the severance package is sufficient that he doesn’t feel the need to quickly run out and get a job at Wal-Mart.

Community Comments

#1 Patrick Rodriguez
February/27/2009
@ 7:36 pm

*sigh*
This is my home newspaper, and I’m fairly familiar with Mr. Branch’s work.
It’s a shame to have to say goodbye to another artist in the field.

#2 John Cole
February/27/2009
@ 10:11 pm

My condolences to John. This week has been a truly rough patch.

#3 Stacy Curtis
February/28/2009
@ 12:03 am

Hang in there, John. There is life after the newspaper job.
They can’t stop you from cartooning.

You’d think we’d all be numb to the many, many layoffs we’ve seen listed here on TDC, but each one is still as painful as the first. This sucks.

#4 Nick Fechter
February/28/2009
@ 7:00 am

Good Lord, when will it end!?

#5 Mike Lester
February/28/2009
@ 9:38 am

The AAEC fete last year in S.A. was a tremendous success for one reason: John Branch. He performed as a host and ambassador for the city and it’s newspaper and let a guy from Georgia sing “Gerogia” w/ the band. Papers need to realize that some employees have value beyond their job description. (Another) sad day.

And while we’re at it, the “nose on your face” moment is in the room: BHO opens his mouth and the market drops like a rock. (full disclosure: 20% pay cuts across board at my paper) I’ve been working this side of the street by myself since the election but the reality is that this guy is squeezing the tube from both ends. John Branch losing his job has less to do w/ the threat of new media than the new administration reinventing of America into a European alsoran.

btw: I’m writing this Sat.10:28 but because of complaints to Alan re: my posts I’ve been flagged for censure. I’m guessing this will post sometime next Tuesday 3/3. (my birthday!)

Lastly, not sure if anyone saw the Clint Eastwood reaction to what I assume was the NYPOST monkey cartoon, etc. but here’s the link. God bless Dirty Harry: http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20090227/906/ten-eastwood-thinks-political-correctnes.html

#6 Darrin Bell
February/28/2009
@ 10:00 am

“Good Lord, when will it end!?”

If you tell me how many cartoonists are left, I’ll tell you how many more will be fired before it ends.

#7 Paul Fell
February/28/2009
@ 5:05 pm

Dammit, dammit,dammit…

I am just sick to death of hearing of yet another of my friends and colleagues having gotten the sack. What particularly frustrates me is that there is no end to this thing.

The avalanche of daily newspaper closings is just beginning and most of them deserve it for their collective stupidity over the past 15 years. We can only hope that the publications that rise up to take their places (and there will be some) will be REAL newspapers run by REAL newspapermen.

Otherwise, the days of open government and accountability of elected officials will only be a fond memory. Who else will be covering the local school board and county commission meetings… the bloggers that some folks see as the next “new thing”? Yeah… right. Local Radio? Local TV? In your dreams.

Take heart, though… the stalwarts of conservative talk radio will be there to tell you what to do and think. Why would we need daily newspapers when we have Limburger, Hannity, and O’Reilly to tell us what to think…?

Phooey.

#8 phil tography
February/28/2009
@ 5:31 pm

Mr. Fell,
What does Conservative Talk Radio have to do with what is going on ? There are far more liberal editors and publishers working in newspapers today. It is the bottom dollar that matters. So many newspapers are closing down because if the internet. How many of us check out a newspaper online ? It is easy to find and cheaper them the cost of a daily newspaper. A regional newspaper raised its weekday prices from 50 cents to 75 cents. Other local newspapers have barely enough news to fill the front papge, with the exception of local sports everything else is filler. Sigh.
If you want someone to complain about then go after the ones who are syndicated. The newspapers don’t have to pay health and dental benefits. Just pay the cartoonist of you use his/her work.

#9 Joe Rank
February/28/2009
@ 7:25 pm

That old one: “Mainstream Liberal Media”, with all proof to the contrary! Probably the biggest lie that the ractionaries and plutocrats have been successful in framing…and being swallowed whole by an inattentive and gullible public.

I say that we, as a community, conduct a poll among our collegues that have been dispatched recently…and ask THEM what political/ideological construct was embraced by the management that fired them. Then we would have a basis KNOWING ( at least in part ) the root cause of the current debacle; and not blithely repeat a myth.

I have twice had the experience of working with unbashful “liberal” editors, and when they were replaced with mealy-mouthed functionaries by decidely “conservative” owners; I was summarily let go.
Gosh, what a coin-kidink!

#10 Paul Fell
February/28/2009
@ 8:41 pm

My point was that when daily newspapers with their coverage of everything and anything that should be of importance to the general public are gone, who will cover the day to day news?

What we will be left with will be corporate news releases that tell us that everything is peachy keen, and reports from our state and local govt. that are just as much bullshit with no one to question them. Who will be left to cover the local school board meetings and the like? Nobody’s been able to come up with an answer to that for me as yet. They just want to go off on another tangent altogether.

What will be left is our getting the news from “journalists” like the right wing windbags who proliferate our airwaves today. If that’s where you want to get your news from, fine, but don’t denigrate those of us who would like to hear some differing, and perhaps realistic points of view.

Now, Phil, in case you were here looking for a pissing match to get into, go play by yourself, because I’ve said what I’m going to say. Thanks, and good night.

#11 JD Crowe
March/2/2009
@ 11:36 am

These are black days indeed. Brother John is one of the truly fine dudes in the business, and one of my favorite guys to hang out with. It’s too bad, but I guess now he gets the opportunity to get by on his good looks and Khadafy impersonation.
I wish you the best, buddy.

#12 Nancy Binder
March/14/2011
@ 1:32 pm

So sad…I still have his booklet of the cartoons that were published in 1976. The cartoons were published in “The Daily Tarheel” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, I was unable to have him sign it back then. He will be missed.

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