The Journal News, which had previously announced that it was cutting Matt Davies’ staff position, has reversed their decision and will be keeping their Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist. Matt tells me, “I am not going anywhere. My paper looked down the cold and terrible barrel of not having an editorial cartoonist on staff and just couldn’t do it. The paper’s readers owe a big thanks to my editor Henry Freeman who quietly worked to ensure that my position was revived and ultimately kept alive during a particularly bruising round of downsizing in our newsroom. The clear message is that no matter how small a newspaper payroll needs to be in order for a paper to turn a profit, a decent staff cartoonist who connects with the audience is a smart part of that profit strategy. While I am of course personally relieved, my thoughts are with my talented and venerated colleagues who didn’t survive the cuts this week.”


  1. Outstanding! More good news. I’m feeling slightly disoriented, though. Is the journalism biz starting to make sense, again?

    Congrats to the JN for its ability to recognize the obvious, and to Matt.

  2. Now I’m feeling a bit guilty for the brick through the window….

    Now if all the other newspapers in country who laid off their cartoonists would follow suit, we could all just put down the torches and pitchforks.

    Congrats, Matt!

  3. Perhaps it was finally explained to the bean-counters, who only look at the bottom line, just what important an aspect this is in producing that bottom line in the first place.

    If we could just have newspapers run by newspapermen (and women) instead of corporate bean-counters, then cartooning would flourish again. But thanks to those money management geniuses, the entire industry may be too far gone to retrieve. However, with the news of the Tribune hiring Scott Stantis along with this, there’s a glimmer of hope.

  4. Great news. But too bad the Journal News couldn’t have thought the whole matter through first before putting Matt and his family (and the editorial cartooning world) through stress and anxiety for two weeks.

  5. I need to correct a misconception.

    Bean-counters don’t layoff cartoonists.

    Bean-counters give EDITORS a budget and it’s EDITORS who decide how to spend the money in their newsroom that they’ve been given….NOT bean-counters. It’s editors who decide what feature is important to their print products….not bean-counters. Remember, the bean-counters ONLY care about the bottom line.

    Most of the time it’s an editor’s dream come true to jettison their own personal headache. AND to be able to pass off the blame onto a bean-counter by saying we have to say good-bye to local cartoons was due to budget-cuts. It is very sad that so many in our society who have swallowed that lie.

    The truth is, it is the editor’s job (not the bean-counter’s) how and what to spend their newsroom budget on, They make the decision who and what stays and who goes.

    Most editors are journalistically bankrupt and are just trying to lay low by punching the clock to protect their own hides.

    Lately, some editors (such as in Chicago, Birmingham and Westchester) have realized the only way to survive is to quit shooting holes in the bottom of their boat to let the water out.

    The editors (not bean-counters) realized that maybe they want to provide their readers fun, visual, edgy LOCAL commentary that the Internet can’t or won’t.

    When the print world has editors like the ones in Chicago, Birmingham and Westchester maybe there is HOPE.

  6. Right on, Wiley,
    You actually have to have someone who can draw a bottom line-
    And who better than a Pulitzer winner. Although, with Matt that line will be squiggly and scratchy.

  7. Yay Matt! Good luck and keep that pen going! Maybe this is the equivalent of the financial crisis htting bottom at last, and the long upward trend begins?

  8. Good points, Milt.
    But in this case it sounds like Matt had the backing of his Editor and it was other forces at work whose minds had to be changed

  9. One of the reasons I’m no longer an editor is that I resisted the demands to lay off talented young newsroom people. And, yes, specific people were mentioned and their rate of pay was shoved under my nose.

    One of the other reasons I’m no longer an editor is that the cold-hearted chislers went Chapter 7. heh heh heh.

  10. Editors have three choices when faced with cutting their budget.

    #1 They can protect their content bottom line by NOT laying off THE ONLY person who creates LOCAL visual commentary for their operation.

    OR #2 they can resign over the direction of their newspaper other forces want to take it (which has already been done by more than several editors).

    OR #3 they can endorse the decision to eliminate the one feature that differentiates their operation from all other media platforms… doing the bidding of the bean-counters.

  11. Editors answer to the publisher. The publishers have only been listening (for the most part) to the bean-counters. The bean-counters point out to the publisher that they can run the work of every syndicated editorial cartoon for a fraction of the cost of one staff cartoonist. That’s all they see… the numbers. What they don’t understand is what produces the numbers, and perhaps, just perhaps, that is beginning to change.

    The editors may be the executioner, but they are not the ones who ordered the execution.

  12. “OR #2 they can resign over the direction of their newspaper other forces want to take it (which has already been done by more than several editors).”

    I would do that, but with the knowledge that they would simply replace me with someone who would do their bidding. My conscience would be clear, but the net result for the paper would be the same. The day after I was finally terminated, they canned a young reporter I hadn’t wanted to.

    Assuming we’re here to argue the case of the cartoonist, it really doesn’t matter who pulls the trigger, does it? The editor can only resist to a certain degree. The beancounters have the last word.

  13. this is great news because i am a huge fan of matt davies. i am an aspiring cartoonist. so maybe there is hope for us too.

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