Jim Day escorted out of Las Vegas Review-Journal

Jim Day, the editorial cartoonist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that he was laid off last week and “asked to leave the building that day and told I would not be allowed to return.”

Jim started his career with the Review-Journal in 1981 as newsroom graphics editor; in 1991 he accepted the job of full time editorial cartoonist. Before moving to Las Vegas he worked as a newsroom illustrator for the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot and was also the editorial cartoonist for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press.

The Review-Journal continues to run his cartoon gallery on the paper’s website and with exception of a small blurp about five newsroom employees being laid off has not published any notice of the end of his 30-year career there. Most of his work as editorial cartoonist for the past 20 years focused on state and local issues.

At age 61 Jim has no immediate plans other than to continue publish through Cagle.com.

37 thoughts on “Jim Day escorted out of Las Vegas Review-Journal

  1. …a reminder that nothing in the creative and thinking end of the media biz, is or should be permanent; keep it moving and leave those Hum-Drum clones behind, there is more life outside the Review-Journal… check it out , we have all done it, call it a stimulus package for talent…

  2. The words “escorted out” almost sound like a perp walk. Were they afraid he’d steal a stapler?

  3. I got my pink slip in the days before the kind and gentle process of “escorting” the newly laid-off to the door. God forbid they contaminate the rest of the galley slaves.

    When my job at the old Lincoln Journal got eliminated, I WAS asked to leave the building right away, but nobody was there to see me to the door. I hung around long enough to say good-bye to everyone. I was actually hoping the HR folks would come out of their hiding places and make a big scene. After an hour or so, the mood was so depressing that I decided to leave on my own.

    Jim, we all wish you the best in your future endeavors. As to your former employers, well, what goes around comes around.

  4. I wasn’t there but wouldn’t read too much into the “escorted out” part. Like John Cole, I’ve been there too, and yes, Eve L. Owen, they are afraid he’d steal a stapler, or sabotage a computer, or incite a riot, or something else. That’s just the way business works and personnel managers are trained to do it these days. Minimize risk. They call you into the boss’s office, lower the hammer, escort you back to your desk to pick up your coat and family photos, and see you to your car.

    It’s cold, impersonal and inhumane, and taught me three lessons that’ll stay with me the rest of my life: 1. No matter what your bosses say, they’re not your friends and you’re not all “just like a family”; 2. Your job is not who you are; 3. Keep a file with the good stuff you really want to take with you (business contacts, samples of work you’ve done that’ll help you get your next job) somewhere off-site, because chances are you won’t see the bullet coming with your name on it.

  5. and yes, Eve L. Owen, they are afraid he?d steal a stapler

    3. Keep a file with the good stuff you really want to take with you (business contacts, samples of work you?ve done that?ll help you get your next job) somewhere off-site,

    The lesson learned it is to steal that stapler much earlier. For back up purposes. šŸ™‚

  6. Or you quit and get what you want BEFORE the hammer falls… But that only works for those rare folks who’s skill set is currently highly sought after and hard to find who can find a job quickly in this New Depression, i.e., not Political Cartooning for newspapers…

  7. Here’s what I did when I knew my days were short at the Cincinnati Enquirer, after 28 years being a sports cartoonist and general news slave. I left every night with a collection of my originals until there was nothing left except a box of Kleenex. All my artwork now resides safely at home.
    Then, when the moment arrived, I walked out on my own, on deadline yet. I was newsroom hero. I also went to HR the day before to set up an early retirement, making sure I had my benefits and the pittance of a pension.
    I got them before they got me.
    Jerry Dowling

  8. The one time I was laid off, my employer told me to take as much time as I wanted/needed to clear out my desk, finish up anything I felt I needed to pass off to others, and say my good-byes to co-workers. If you make it clear that they are still respected even if you don’t have a job for them to do anymore, it goes a long way towards diffusing hard feelings.

    IMO, it’s exactly that culture of “escorting out” that creates a situation where someone might “steal a stapler”. Or worse.

  9. after 30 years, I’d jump up on the middle of it and pee on the bosses desk….uproot his potted plants…and then pee on the plants! Peeing on his desk would be strictly for me….not sure why I’d take it a step further with the plants other than just plain ol meanness and spite.

  10. I’ve had the luxury of seeing the end coming at my last four jobs and have also followed the practice of slowly moving my own stuff out of the building, together with backing up anything I wanted as samples.

    However, a colleague at the Daily News who had been there many years, won awards, done great work for them, was called into the office for what turned out to be The Meeting. While she was in there, they deactivated her email account and her passwords. They then escorted her out of the building without the chance to stop by her desk and fill a cardboard box. I’m not sure how (or if) she ever retrieved her personal items, but her plan the next day was to ask colleagues to gather them up for her.

    That would be the Daily News that just dropped a third of its comic strips, yes.

    Listen to Brian. He is correct in all particulars.

  11. what a bunch of pigs at the Review-Journal. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy comes back with a semi-automatic.

  12. Jim, so very sorry to hear of your abrupt removal and for being treated so poorly after such a long run. Their utter disrespect and mistreatment of this nature is totally unwarranted.

  13. Jerry Dowling, that was so fortunate you were able to see the storm approaching. Brian Duffy was fired from the Des Moines Register and escorted to the door. He was unable to get his originals. I haven’t heard anything more on his attempt to get them.

    I think it is prudent to write into contract that all original art is the property of the artist. The publication is buying usage rights. I have made a point of putting this provision in writing with every publication, client, and syndicate I’ve worked with over the last 30 years. I also include ownership of Ā©.

  14. This is cruel but what’s more so is that in the coming weeks his phone will ring, “We’re offering a Three Day Weekender Special to the Las Vegas Review Journal for only…”

    Question: has ANYONE been hired as an ed. cartoonist since Stantis. I think that was two years ago(?)

  15. Very sorry to hear of Jim Day’s situation and the cold escorted-out ending. Jim, if you’re reading this, best of luck to you, and be ready to reinvent yourself in multiple ways at once. Most of us have had to rely on many small revenue streams from many sources.

    I never saw my layoff coming, but was fortunate enough to be given three weeks before my last day, enough to grab all my important papers and contacts and originals. As Brian said, one should (very quietly) take important personal things home in advance, if possible.

  16. Not only did I not see the bullet coming, I had been told that it wouldn’t be coming. After a change in top management at the Review-Journal late last year, the new editor met with newsroom staffers and when asked if there would be job cuts, he told us no, that the newspaper was in good shape financially and we need not worry.

  17. Wow. I have no problem accepting that people have to be laid off on occasion. But the misguided HR innovation of escorting longtime, quality employees out of the building as if they’re contaminated with radioactive fecal matter strikes me as especially contemptible. What signal does that practice send to those left behind?

    Best of luck, Jim. You are no doubt aware of the reservoir of good will you have behind you as you move on to the next chapter.

  18. I was present for one of the above mass dismissals — but it was so ham-fistedly mishandled the company paid for it for years in bad PR in the community.

    A bunch of back-woods podunks had just purchased the paper and then ambushed the staff with the ax before the ink was even dry on the contract — but unlike the pros, they fired the IT dept so fast (escorting them out door), they failed to secure the computers and passwords for over a week. They had taken people’s physical keys to the building but left their digital systems wide open.

    As the new taskmasters nervously hovered over each newly axed employee to be sure they didn’t sabotage anything, the rest of us ran around behind their backs and gathered up artwork, pulling gigabits of material off the computers and generally robbing the place blind of staplers. And thanks to cell phones, each round of layoffs being escorted off the property was instantly meet by the rest of the media in town.

    It reminded me of that last failed Soviet coup in 1991, when the conspirators made sure there were enough handcuffs on hand, but failed to take into consideration modern telecommunication. Didn’t hurt any less, but wow did we get our pound of flesh.

  19. ………there is a BIG difference between a ….’layoff’…. and the TOTAL elimination of LOCAL GRAPHIC commentary that the newspaper can’t AND won’t obtain from any other source.

    Jim will be starting a new chapter and continue to express himself….but the newspaper has ENDED it’s position as a locally respected institution that cares enough to employ a local visual commentator to address local issues.

    It is no longer a newspaper….it is a shopper….a community newsletter….a filler……..that is wrapped around the front door knob and ignored and tossed away as soon as the homeowner can get it out of the way so they can use their door.

    The stupidity of this paper’s decision to end it’s local visual commentary can not be overstated as the other newspaper in town still employs a local cartoonist.
    At a time when readers are drowning in media overload of national news and starving for their local issues to be graphically addressed.
    The Review-Journal managers believe they have helped their bottom line but they actually made their competitor’s product better than their own.

    When a newspaper lays off their ONLY local cartoonist….they are shooting holes in the bottom of their boat to let the water out.

  20. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a buyout from McClatchy and get a decent sendoff after taking it. Even so, leaving a profession you love is tough enough voluntarily so my heart goes out to Jim for the crass treatment he received from the Review Journal.

    And has there ever been a time more ripe for Editorial Cartoonists? Since leaving the N and O I often think either I have to draw a cartoon or shoot out my TV. Then I realize that my soapbox is no longer available.

    One thing I do know. Every day since I left the paper folks have been coming up to me on the street or the Y or where ever and saying how much they miss the cartoons, especially with a renegade school board trying to re-segregate the schools and a nest of teabaggers over at the legislature trying to take the state back to the stone age.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the N and O ever hiring another cartoonist. Kevin Siers is still drawing great stuff for the Charlotte Observer, another McClatchy paper, and though the N and O has rights to use his cartoons on state topics so far they very seldom do. But then, it’s the N and O, not Charlotte that is right up the street from the Legislature and Governor’s office.

    A ripe target for our pens would certainly be the newspaper industry. Oh crap, Catch 22!!

    It hurts to say this, but there is a very big problem with visibility for even the best cartoonists now. Hell, Pat Oliphant, a veritable Icon, is still doing great stuff down in Santa Fee but you hardly ever see it unless you track it down on the web. The reason, I’m sure, is that most editors are too chicken shit to run him.

    Sucks for sure. Maybe we can just start walking over to our legislatures and beating the crap out of some of the worst offenders. That would get some visibility at least.

  21. Oops, sorry, Alan, if I ran afoul of the language police at the tail end of my rant. This is my first post and I didn’t read your guidelines. Anyhow, I appreciate the forum you afford us as I go wash my mouth with soap.

  22. Hi Jim,

    It’s your old faithful cohort from St. Joe.

    I’ll be retiring in January and just wanted to make contact and I see you are with Cagle.com but no means for me to e-mail you. So perhaps this discussion site might work.

    Still in St. Louis working the community planning business and saw your latest cartoons – like the one with Ryan tilting at windmills passing!!!

    blackberry e-mail is: stevenagle@rocketmail.com



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