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Clay Jones laid off from The Free Lance-Star

Clay Jones, who has been the staff cartoonist for the The Free Lance-Star, has been laid off. His last day with the paper is today.

In a blog post to his readers he writes:

What’s next for me? I don’t know. I do know my career as a staff cartoonist, something I spent seven years fighting for before it finally happened, is over. I do have other skills and I’m going to try to figure out what those are. There’s gotta be an opportunity for a professional smart ass somewhere out there.

I’m toying with the idea of a new adventure. This is the time to do that. This might even be a great opportunity. I can try something new and maybe even at a new location. Yes, I’m thinking about leaving Virginia despite the fact over the past 14 years I’ve gained more friends here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived.

He also mentions that he’ll continue to syndicate his cartoons through Creators Syndicate and contribute two cartoons a week to The Free Lance-Star.

Community Comments

#1 Keith Brown
August/17/2012
@ 1:18 pm

Dang.

#2 Gerry Mooney
August/17/2012
@ 2:07 pm

I’ve got two words for Clay: “Stacy Curtis”. When he was laid off from his regular gig, he floundered for like five minutes, then struck out on a new career that’s left us all feeling like sluggards.

#3 Milt Priggee
August/17/2012
@ 4:04 pm

Ok……now who is still employed as a staff newspaper editorial cartoonist in the state of Virginia…..??

#4 Gary Brookins
August/17/2012
@ 6:59 pm

So sorry for Clay . . . but of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. And others will certainly be facing the same fate in the months ahead. As to cartoonists left in Virginia, I believe John Rose is still at The Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg.

#5 Michael Pohrer
August/17/2012
@ 7:27 pm

Hey Clay, was it sudden or did you get a vibe around the office? Personally bummed out to hear another great friend gets passed the pink slip.

#6 Kal kallaugher
August/17/2012
@ 8:23 pm

I feel very bad for Clay. I was always impressed by his determination and diligence to provide quality work for his readers. The newpaper and the community are losing a first rate cartoonist and personality.I wish Clay the very best of luck.

#7 Dale Stout
August/17/2012
@ 9:13 pm

Clay’s cartoons are amongst my favorites. His Toon Talk blog was the best.

#8 clay jones
August/18/2012
@ 12:43 am

I changed my mind after being shit on and having my last cartoon killed. I will NOT free lance for this newspaper. New website up soon.

#9 Paul Combs
August/18/2012
@ 7:11 am

You go, Clay!

#10 Michael Pohrer
August/18/2012
@ 7:17 am

Right on! Don’t forget to throw the link at us Clay!

#11 Pedro Molina
August/18/2012
@ 10:56 am

Once again, all the best Clay.

#12 Joe Groshek
August/18/2012
@ 1:34 pm

Everytime I hear of a great Editorial Cartoonist losing their job, along with multiple employees, it’s only a matter of time when the paper folds completely, or instantly becomes a 3rd rate read. If only the loyalty of their employers was as high as their employees. I was just in Milwaukee a couple weeks ago, and read the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, and what was once a great newspaper, has become a shell of its former self. Very sad. It seems that after they let go Markstein and Carlson, the quality of the paper diminished as well. Killing your last cartoon just shows how little class the FLS has. Best of luck to you in Phase 2 of your career.

#13 Milt Priggee
August/19/2012
@ 12:52 pm

FYI-
THE very instant a newspaper rids itself of their ability to present a local voice about a local issue….that newspaper is no longer a newspaper….it is now a ‘shopper’.
This is just another incident of a news operation abdicating it’s monopoly instead of maximizing it…..and then wondering where all the money went.

Clay- I’d love to see the cartoon and the reason for killing it.

link please….

#14 Stacy Curtis
August/20/2012
@ 12:30 am

Clay, welcome to the club. The first beer is on us.
You will survive this and come out on the other side even better than before.
There are lots of avenues to explore with your artwork.

I have always thought a cartoonist freelancing cartoons to the newspaper that laid them off is a bad idea.
It amounts to crawling back to them and telling them you’re not worthy of a full-time position.
Congratulations for walking away from that.

#15 Chris OBrion
August/20/2012
@ 9:27 am

Truly sorry to hear about this, Clay. You obviously know you are the rule rather than the exception, and the size of the tsunami doesn’t negate the quality of the sandcastle. You will do (other) cool things!

#16 Steve Artley
August/27/2012
@ 12:28 am

Clay, I second Milt’s first and second comments, along with many of the other commentators here. I’ve always been in your corner and hate to see them paint you out of it. Such a loss for them. As to those staffers left in Virginia, I think Gary B. is correct. John Rose is the only one left. The rest of us are freelancers.

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