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Steve Breen wins second Pulitzer Prize

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Steve Breen has been honored this year with his second Pulitzer Prize. The San Diego Union Tribune editorial cartoonist took the prize in 1998 while at the Asbury Park Press. He has been with the Union Tribune since 2001. Regarding this year’s submissions, the judges wrote that this award is for “his agile use of a classic style to produce wide ranging cartoons that engage readers with power, clarity and humor.”

The other two finalists this year were Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press and Matt Wuerker of Politico.

In addition to the Pulitzer, Steve has previously been awarded the Berryman Award (2007).

Steve’s cartoons are syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He is the creator of Grand Avenue and has since partnered with Mike, one of the other finalists on his strip.

Community Comments

#1 Nate Beeler
April/20/2009
@ 1:05 pm

Wow! Congrats to Steve! And to Mike and Matt, too! All are incredibly deserving!

#2 Steve Greenberg
April/20/2009
@ 1:13 pm

Congrats Steve! You might be the last remaining staff editorial cartoonist in California with any job security!

#3 Mike Thompson
April/20/2009
@ 1:15 pm

A big congrats to Steve! And also to Matt!

#4 Jeff Darcy
April/20/2009
@ 1:17 pm

Mickey Rourke got robbed!

#5 Rob Tornoe
April/20/2009
@ 1:24 pm

Awesome! Way to go Steve!

#6 Lucas Turnbloom
April/20/2009
@ 1:53 pm

Steve! Congrats!! Very well deserved. Lunch is on me next week, bud.

#7 Stacy Curtis
April/20/2009
@ 1:53 pm

Congratulations Steve, Mike and Matt!

#8 Lucas Turnbloom
April/20/2009
@ 2:03 pm

I love how you’ve scooped Steve’s newspaper, Alan. LOL

#9 Marshall Ramsey
April/20/2009
@ 2:25 pm

Congrats, Steve!

#10 J Read
April/20/2009
@ 2:57 pm

Unfortunately, Steve Greenberg, winning a Pulitzer hasn’t prevented the firings of (some of) Steve Breen’s fellow winners.

#11 Jeff Darcy
April/20/2009
@ 3:35 pm

J READ- true enough-All the same-it’s still nice to see that the standard bearer for the industry still recognizes the importance and value of editorial cartooning to newspapers by having it as a category- It would be nice if that would register with publishers and editors who are laying waste to the editorial cartooning profession.
P.S. Congrats to Mike Thompson for also being nominated for the Susan Lucci award

#12 Mike Thompson
April/20/2009
@ 4:34 pm

“P.S. Congrats to Mike Thompson for also being nominated for the Susan Lucci award”

Thanks. Because as you’ll recall, Lucci eventually won.

#13 Mike Lester
April/21/2009
@ 8:07 am

Next year: “SOAP STAR TURNED EDITORIAL CARTOONIST SUSAN LUCCI WINS 2010 EDITORIAL CARTOON PULITZER PRIZE. THANKS ADOBE PHOTOSHOP.”

#14 Mike Thompson
April/21/2009
@ 9:42 am

Oh-oh! Lester’s gonna be p-i-s-s-e-d when he finds out the green-eyed monster stole his screen name!

#15 Wiley Miller
April/21/2009
@ 9:50 am

Was that cartoon prime sample of what won the Pulitzer?
I think it’s time for the Pulitzer Committee to eliminate this category.

#16 Mike Thompson
April/21/2009
@ 10:02 am

Wiley: Steve won, let’s let him enjoy his moment. As for the rest of us, we can all return to our regularly-scheduled back-biting and complaining in a week or so.

#17 Wiley Miller
April/21/2009
@ 10:37 am

Thanks for illuminating exactly what’s wrong with editorial cartooning today, Mike. All hail the rewarding of mediocrity and let no one dare point it out. Make sure to let us know when it’s appropriate to voice an opinion, ok?

#18 Mike Thompson
April/21/2009
@ 10:42 am

No one’s saying don’t make your views know, Wiley, but as a professional courtesy is it too much to ask that give the guy a week or so before starting in with your self-appointed savior of the profession routine?

#19 Jeff Darcy
April/21/2009
@ 10:55 am

There were better cartoons in Steve’s submission than the one they put up. And I don’t know if it was part of his Pulitzer portfolio but Matt Wuerker’s Palin world view map cartoon was , I thought , among the top 5 cartoons done all year. Simply brilliant.
But to make it interesting, maybe they should have Wiley and Bad Cartoonist be on the jury next year instead of Horsey.

#20 Darrin Bell
April/21/2009
@ 11:14 am

Congrats to Steve, but just once I want to see “Tom Tomorrow” or “Bad Cartoonist” make the short list. Is that too much to ask?

#21 Wiley Miller
April/21/2009
@ 11:49 am

Apparently you didn’t understand my point, Mike. It wasn’t about Steve’s work, it’s about the obvious inability of the Pulitzer jury to understand just what an editorial cartoon is. The cartoon posted here is not an editorial cartoon, it’s humorous new illustration. It makes not point nor takes an editorial position on anything. If editors cannot grasp this, then what’s the point of having them making the decision on handing out journalism’s top prize for it?

It’s the job of a cartoonist to point out the elephant in the room, and sometimes that includes our own room.

#22 Mike Lester
April/21/2009
@ 11:51 am

PUL. ED.CARTOON JUDGES:
Jeanne Mariani-Belding, editorial page editor, The Honolulu Advertiser (chair)
Vanessa Gallman, editorial page editor, Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader
David Horsey*, editorial cartoonist and columnist, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Allison Silver, former editor, The Washington Independent
Ken Tingley, editor, The Post-Star, Glen Falls, NY

and Guest Judge Perez Hilton who knows as much if not more about ed. cartooning than the above “journalists”.

Just one example: EVERY cartoon Mat Bors did last year was better than anything I saw in the winning portfolio. Bors only mistake is that he ignored the national shame of infants drinking oil out of tanker trucks.

#23 Mike Thompson
April/21/2009
@ 12:12 pm

Itâ??s the job of a cartoonist to point out the elephant in the room, and sometimes that includes our own room.

I’m the last guy to argue against the exercise of free speech. But I think as a professional courtesy we can all at least allow the winner a few days to savor their victory.

And I agree with Lester that Bors is an outstanding cartoonist.

#24 Wiley Miller
April/21/2009
@ 12:36 pm

“Iâ??m the last guy to argue against the exercise of free speech. But I think as a professional courtesy we can all at least allow the winner a few days to savor their victory.”

You don’t see the contradiction in that statement?

#25 Jeff Darcy
April/21/2009
@ 12:46 pm

From what I read Steve is in Hawaii soaking up the rays and the praise coming his way. This is the second time I’ve heard of a cartoonist finding out they won while on vacation. I recall a story of Oliphant sitting at a bar with another cartoonist talking about the formula for drawing a Pulitzer winning cartoon involves having a dead body in it. I’m now thinking the formula for winning is being on vacation at some sunny resort when it’s announced.
To his credit Steve said he could think of 20 other cartoonists who were better than him who haven’t one it. As we saw in another post, every one probably has there own list of cartoonist who are overdue- I thought Rob Rogers, Jimmy Margulies, Lester, Bors ,Rall, Steve Kelley and a number of others all had great years and deserved a win or at least a nomination– but that’s not to take anything away from Steve. I loved the Obama superman toon- the Blago dumpster…and he cranked these out while doing a comic strip at the same time.
That said I think the Pulitzer’s luster and credibility is hurt when, as E&P pointed out, it continues to draw from the same small pool of cartoonists for its repeat nominees and winners when so many other good cartoonist have been flagrantly overlooked for years.

#26 Stacy Curtis
April/21/2009
@ 1:50 pm

I’m glad I’m not Steve Breen.
Even winning a Pulitzer is not enough for me to sit around and listen to my peers tell me how weak my work is.

One of the bad things about editorial cartoonists is they just don’t know when to shut up. :-)

If you don’t like who they chose for the Pulitzer Prize, e-mail the judges, don’t put it out here for Steve to read when he gets home and certainly don’t put it out here for his newspaper editors to read.

#27 Daryl Cagle
April/21/2009
@ 2:34 pm

Maybe they should bar judges who just laid off their editorial cartoonist.

For Dick Adair’s entire career at the Honolulu Advertiser, the paper had a policy of having him draw a cartoon to illustrate the daily editorial. That’s not a corporate attitude I like to see in a Pulitzer judge.

That said, Steve Breen is a great guy, I’m happy to see him add another win.

#28 Jeff Darcy
April/21/2009
@ 4:23 pm

Good point Daryl,
But I believe the jury also included Joel Pett’s editor. Joel does the very kind of editorializing in his cartoons that Wiley seeks-as does Horsey. On top of that it’s a smaller daily that still employs it’s own cartoonist.

#29 Dave Stephens
April/22/2009
@ 3:25 am

Blah blah blah, whine whine whine, whaa whaa whaaa.

Man up, all of you complaining whining wussified ultra wimps! One man won what MAYBE others should have won and MAYBE not… For folks who trade in opinions, you sure don’t understand the concept much.

An OPINION “illustrated” by an AWARD. Hurray!

Sour grapes much? Savor the flavor, ’cause you all look bad with THAT behavior…

#30 Jim Lavery
April/22/2009
@ 8:49 am

“The cartoon posted here is not an editorial cartoon, itâ??s humorous new illustration. It makes not point nor takes an editorial position on anything.”

I can’t say that’s entirely true–maybe it seems so now a year after the primaries. But at the time I think it WAS saying something. Bill was supposed to be Hillary’s greatest asset but he made several statements that did her more harm than good and then suddenly, quietly he was hardly seen or heard from. The cartoon uses imagery to MAKE A POINT that Bill’s sudden absense wasn’t just because he was busy elsewhere but that the Hillary campaign INTENTIONALLY was muzzling him. The EDITORIAL POSITION was illustrated by not having him merely bound and gagged in a closet somewhere (that’s how I do it but I digress)but in the cargo hold of the campaign bus amongst the rest of Hill’s BAGGAGE. I’m not saying it’s a great cartoon, but it’s not a bad one either and ultimately it does do what it’s supposed to do which is use imagery to make a point and take a position and even make it humorous to boot.

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