Alex Hunter wins Scripps Howard Journalism Award

Editor & Publisher reported that Alex Hunter of The Washington Times has won this year’s Scripps Howard Journalism Award for editorial cartooning. Alex wins the $10,000 ward, trophy for his “well-researched satire that merged sequential art with editorial cartoons.” You can check out Alex’s work on the Time’s website.

Mike Luckovich of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the finalist.

25 thoughts on “Alex Hunter wins Scripps Howard Journalism Award

  1. not sure this should have won. Is it sequential art OR editorial cartoon? Just my humble opinion but I always thought ‘editorial cartoon’ meant a single panel cartoon that told the story and simultaneously presented an opinion and was enveloped in satire. THAT, to me is more example of editorial cartoon. I would think it takes infinitely more skill to tell the story, set up the joke and deliver the punchline in one frame than to do it several. That having been said, there are several ‘strips’ that make an editorial comment. Not the same. If one looks back in the archives, the early cartoonists didn’t use ‘sequential art’ to make their points….it was all one-panel. I am not such a crumudgeon that I abhore change. However, some things are better off done the old way. I drink coffee, not mocha-latte. I let my kids ride their bikes without the benefit of one of those silly-looking helmets. There is not much better than good ole home-cooked fried chicken (fried in trans-fat oils) and I like 1-panel editorial cartoons. Just my 2-cents worth……

  2. I had never heard of Alex Hunter prior to this, and neither had many editorial cartoonists. And it looks like the feature he won for may have been discontinued as of the end of 2009.

  3. @Mike,

    Editorial cartoons can, do, and long have come in many formats–including multiple panels.

    Full-page editorial cartoons with lots of panels go back to the 19th century at least.

    Before modern editorial cartoons came along starting with Jules Feiffer and Matt Groening and the whole modernization of the form began in the 1980s, most daily newspapers ran primarily single panels. But that hadn’t been the case a few decades earlier, and isn’t now.

    Of course, you wouldn’t know that to look at, but that’s a quaint anachronism.

  4. Steve, nobody had ever heard of me til I began winning the South Carolina Press Association. (although, like you, I’d never heard of this guy either). The thing that turned me off was one thing…….’WORDY’. Personally, if ya have to write a mini-novel to make your point, you are no longer creating an editorial cartoon. Not sure what it would be labeled….but it ain’t editorial toon.

    Ted, I’m AMAZED it took you so long to weigh in. YOURS is the ONLY multi-panel editorial toon I ever read. Usually, yours have several pithy remarks and points to make in each sequential piece. However, I have some ‘old-time’ editorial toons and they are mostly single-panel. I do single-panel toons. That’s why I said it was ‘my 2 cents worth’. I prefer them. Having done them for some years now, I can personally vouch for the fact that it IS harder to put it all in 1-panel.

  5. Interesting work. Also interesting that his own paper lists him as an illustrator not as an editorial cartoonist.
    Looks as if he’s also given an entire page and makes the most of it. What a format to have in this age of postage stamp size cartoon spaces.

  6. Jeff, have to disagree with you there….just a bit. I saw that he was listed as an ‘illustrator’ as well. The fact that he was given an entire page bemoans one of two facts…..

    1) his paper is devoid of much else and needs ‘filler’ or
    2) he needs that much to finish his novella.

    Neither of these is ‘GOOD’. One of the other guys pointed out that it looked like his piece / page was cancelled after 2009. Not surprised. THAT makes me think it was more #1 and a little of reason #2.

    If you look in most ANY newspaper or online site nowdays, MOST of the ‘editorial cartoonists’ worth their salt are doing single-panel toons. Like I said, having done this kind for some years now, I can attest to the fact that it is harder to cram everything into one 5″ x 7″ space. (Note: a lot of papers, some of mine included have amuch smaller space for the toons). The toons of other artsits that really make me laugh and think about the issues are the ones that can deliver a knock-out punch in one shot…..usually less than 2 sentences.

  7. Attempts to make rules about art make me cringe.

    I admire simple single-panel cartoons–when they’re good. Most aren’t. As others here note, it’s pretty hard to deliver something smart and pithy in a small little box–and most cartoonists can’t pull it off.

    The advantage of the multi-panel form is that it allows you to introduce a story that might otherwise be obscure, then build up to the joke. The trouble with wordy cartoons is that readers might not have the patience to take the time to read it. Generally, you have to build up trust with the reader.

    I know when I read a cartoon by Ruben Bolling, for example, that it’s always worth the time. (Thanks, Mike, for saying I’m one of the few you trust–but there are others! Jen Sorensen, Tom Tomorrow, Matt Bors, Stephanie McMillan, etc. all work in multiple panels and do a great job…Tim Eagan is cool too…there are many others.)

    Generally, I find that the best multiple-panel cartoonists are more consistent, batting at least .400, than the best single-panel cartoonists. Consistency is very important. Since single panels are harder to distill, those cartoons are necessarily not going to be as great.

    Bottom line for me: a good cartoon is a good cartoon. If it takes a thousand words to make it good, that’s fine. If you can do it with zero, that’s great too.

  8. As others here note, it?s pretty hard to deliver something smart and pithy in a small little box?and most cartoonists can?t pull it off.

    In a black and white world a single panel black and white cartoon might only -appear- to be saying something smart and pithy when all it is really doing is reinforcing a prejudiced point of view. (Prejudiced in the broad sense, that it pre-judges a situation.) The world is in actuality composed of ever finer shades of gray, or color.

    Which, I suspect, is why editors and advertisers shy away from a strong editorial panel – it doesn’t acknowledge that there are two (or more) sides to every story. Yes, it might start a discussion, but is it really a good idea to start a discussion with an insult?

  9. I don’t know. I do know that bland milquetoast cartoons don’t elicit anything more than a yawn…no discussion, no nothing.

    Look at this website. Threads devoid of controversy are short and devoid of content.

  10. Batting 400? That’s saying that 60% of their output is crap. That’s VERY generous, I think. It’s gotta be more like 80% crap for the good ones, 90-95% crap for the mediocre ones and 100% for the truly terrible. I enjoy reading Ted’s attempts and I especially appreciate that he doesn’t give Obama a “pass” at ALL. Not that I agree with him most of the time, not even close, but I appreciate how rare his approach is.

    Whether it’s multi or single, it’s still mostly crap. Pulitzer Prize winner? Great! Still mostly crap. Greatest political cartoonist in the history of the world? Dunno that person, but if I did – your guessed it – mostly crap. Cynical? Nope. That’s just the way it is and has always been, as far as I can tell, though things were quite a bit better 15-20 years ago, I think.


  11. Dave, I’m just saying your knowledge of editorial cartooning is … crap.
    And I went looking online for the great editorial cartoons you’ve drawn, but I didn’t find … crap.

  12. I always thought intelligent conversations could be devoid of controversy. But then if you ever hear or read scientist go after each other …. oofa. I guess it gets things done.

  13. This artist is mentally ill. This is outsider art. I know something about this, not just from museum exhibits, but from having seen it myself (rarely) in other peoples’ work.

    Terribly annoying pdfs w/pop-ups there. Did anyone read them? The first one I saw was just Christmas illustration. The other 2 I clicked on were incomprehensible.

    You’re all about the alt idea, Ted, but did you actually read one of his pages from top to bottom? Before I asked just now? It didn’t sound like you did, just that you wanted to talk history.

    I don’t like mental illness, so I won’t read any more of it, but if someone here actually read through ANY of them, or thinks he makes sense or a point, would love to hear it.

    And this is definitely not any kind of cartoon. Disgusted w/Scripps Howard for saying this has anything to do with cartooning.

  14. Ms. Donna……I am humbled! Your last paragraph spelled out what I was thinking… just showed more balls saying it! I bow to you in respect. :0)

  15. Dan,
    Shocked, I am! Shocked to find there are comments being made that are harsh and out of line on this board.

    Oh, and the gambling, too!

  16. Given the number of really good Editorial Cartoonists out there, I wouldn’t have picked this guy’s stuff as the top of the heap, but mentally ill? Nah. And even if Donna’s right, having a screw loose has never been an impediment to great art.

  17. I resemble that remark!

    I can’t see any of the PDFs from that site. My computer downloads -something- but then doesn’t save it where it should. So now I’m wary of what their site is really sending to me.

    Very user-unfriendly to make you go through that step anyway. Another newspaper website that doesn’t get it.

  18. @Donna, I’m not all about the alts. Check out the Daily Beast round-up I edit…mostly mainstream! There are bad alties, great mainstream cartoonists and vice versa.

    But you’re right, I wasn’t saying anything about the Washington Times guy, just pointing out that multi-panel stuff goes back centuries.

    Mentally ill, wow, don’t know what to say. I resemble that remark!

  19. Well, heck, this is a contest with a lot of money involved. Someone has to say the truth.

    I suspect autism, but it might be something different. Note the details and repetition, although it took me less than a minute to decide this from other factors. If I said he was physically challenged would it be different? Yes, that would actually be okay.

    Because as Dave says, art can come from all sorts. Cartoons are supposed to be intelligible, and useful – either entertaining or educative, or both.. Since submissions are put in categories for a reason, this is also a graphic short story, NOT a cartoon, which is another big diff Scripps Howard chose to ignore. They call it “sequential art” – CALL IT A DARN COMIC BOOK, BUDDY.

    I really want to know – has anyone read any of his pieces straight through, and can you understand or summarize it? Please help me out!

  20. Ted,
    Yes, I’ve seen the Daily Beast cartoons. There are more alternatives in there than any other roundup that I know of.
    But mostly I mean the way you write here, defending them.

    Your choice, but in this case, the item is about one particular artist – they don’t call him a cartoonist – who won a NEWSPAPER award. Do you care to classify this guy as an alternative cartoonist?

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