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Tony Auth: the exit interview

After posting the news yesterday that Philadelphia Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth was leaving the paper after 40 years, it was easy to read between the lines that the decision was in part due to the plans to combine the two daily papers (Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News). In talking with Tony yesterday, he emphasized this was not a recent decision or due to the paper’s future. He had been mulling it over for the last year as he realized that doing editorial cartoons five days a week was not challenging him creatively anymore.

Tony will finish out the month of March with the Inquirer and leave just a couple weeks shy of his 41st year. He’ll then move on to WHYY, the local public broadcasting station, where he’ll have more freedom to explore creativity and journalism in the age of the iPad. Among other things he’ll be pursuing, he’ll be creating video cartoons that he produces on his iPad. These new cartoons (see examples below) are drawn and recorded with an iPad app called Brushes. He then overlays the video with audio commentary. “Watching people draw is magic. These videos invite people into the process,” said Tony.

He will continue to do 2-3 editorial cartoons for syndication and he’ll miss the Inquirer. Looking back at 40 years with the paper, he says he’s in awe of what a great experience he had. “It was a great environment. Other cartoons complain about their editors, for me it was a fabulous environment with lots of freedom. I was never hassled by editors.”

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