Exit Interview: Jimmy Margulies laid off from The Record

After 22 years as the editorial cartooning voice of The Record (NJ), Jimmy Margulies was laid off last week. What has become tradition when a staff cartoonist loses their job, I present the Jimmy Margulies exit interview.

AG: When we talked in December you indicated that things were stable at the paper. How much notice were given that your job was in jeopardy? and is this a case of a buy-out or a lay-off?
JM: I was given no advance notice that I was going to lose my job. When I arrived at work on Thursday, the editorial page editor, my supervisor, told me we had to go to Human Resources to meet with the editor-in-chief. So I realized that this was going to be the way they tell you your job is eliminated, even before they actually said the words. I was laid off. But earlier in February, the company did offer buyouts to those over 60 with 15 or more years of service, so I was one of those. I was not interested in leaving at that point. The buyout offer was due to some unfavorable revenue projections, and they also mentioned that other measures, including layoffs might occur.

I was given the same severance that was offered to those taking buyouts, plus I will get unemployment since I did not leave voluntarily.

AG: Will you still be drawing for the paper in any capacity?
JM: At the meeting where I was told about losing my job, I asked about continuing to do some work for the paper. What we worked out is for me to do a Sunday cartoon,primarily on a New Jersey topic, plus if something big happens they might want a cartoon on that too.

AG: What stands out in your career and what will you miss most?
JM: The things that stand out in my career are having won some national awards ( National Headliner Award, Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition, Berryman Award, and 4 Clarion Awards from the Association for Women in Communications) plus having a former acting governor, Donald DiFrancesco, hold up one of my cartoons as partial blame when he decided to withdraw from running for governor back in 2001. I will miss the idea of my work appearing in a regular spot six days a week in the same publication.

AG: You’re syndicated through King Features. Will that continue?
JM: Yes, I do plan to continue drawing syndicated cartoons for King Features. And I was also self syndicating cartoons on New Jersey issues to papers around the state, which I also want to continue. I am in the process of acquiring the technology I need to work at home in order to resume both of those.

AG: Were you able to keep your originals?
JM: I was able to keep my originals. Most of them I had been storing at home anyway since the company moved to smaller quarters four years ago. So all I had to remove was the most recent year or two.

AG: Have you had time to formulate what your plans are now – near term and long term?
JM: My plans are to continue drawing editorial cartoons as I previously mentioned. And also to look for ways to bring in more income such as freelance, drawing caricatures, speaking engagements, etc…. things I have been doing all along. I also might want to do inking or letter for a comic strip ( JimMarg@aol.com if anyone wants to offer me work like that) perhaps look into teaching, depending on how well I do in other areas. I also got a call out of the blue offering me some editorial cartoon work, which is still too early to reveal the details of. But I am hoping this will be something good.

AG: Is there anything you?d like to add, or say?
JM: While I was luckier than some of my editorial cartoon colleagues as far as being able to hang onto a staff job longer than some, I do not see how stripping the newspaper of popular features will solve the long term problems of the industry, or specifically my old paper. It makes the bottom line look better for the paper, but readers are cheated of a feature they have been accustomed to looking for every day. It was very gratifying to receive the support of some of my newspaper colleagues in bemoaning my loss, as well as the remarks which I have seen on social media which have criticized my being let go.

16 thoughts on “Exit Interview: Jimmy Margulies laid off from The Record

  1. Best of luck in the future and I hope you get good paying freelance work. It was nice to meet you at the AAEC convention in Washington.

    Le Droit

  2. I’m sorry to hear that news. I’m glad, though, that I’ll still be able to see Margulies cartoons in syndication.

  3. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors, Jimmy.

    Just wondering… does anybody know how many full-time staff editorial cartoonist positions remain? I’m thinking about 30…

  4. I concur with the other comments above, Jimmy, you do great work and I’ve been a big fan of your cartoons. Glad to hear you will still be doing cartoons for syndication.
    All the best to you.

  5. Good Luck, Mr. Margulies. You are a true professional and will prosper in time. The ships are sinking fast now and there’s no reason someone as talented as you needs to go down with it anyway.

  6. Really sorry to hear this, Jimmy. Enjoyed reading your exit interview. It sounds very familiar.
    At The Free Lance-Star, we weren’t given any warnings either except for a couple months before the third round of layoffs they started asking for “money saving suggestions.” We all knew what that was. Funny thing is, about a year before the layoffs they held a huge party with tacos, fajitas and alcohol telling us things were looking up.
    Editor of the paper called me at home. Not the editorial page editor, the big editor. I knew that was trouble. He never calls me.
    My editor was on vacation when I was told and I guess I should have taken notice on the Friday before when he asked if I had any other income. When he came back his first comment was “I was afraid they were laying me off instead of you.” Nice.

  7. I greatly appreciate the kind words and warm wishes from all those who have commented! I plan to resume drawing cartoons shortly, and was fortunate to be offered something out of the blue which I will make public as soon as I can

  8. I’ve always admired Jimmy’s work and his dedication to his craft. He has been an inspiration to me and many others in the field. Most of all, I’m honored to be among his friends… eagerly awaiting to hear of your next gig, Jimmy!

  9. So sorry to hear about this, Jimmy. As a Record alum, it’s sad to see the ship slowly sinking. You’re right — the readers will feel the loss. We can only hope the best minds in journalism will find ways to keep quality alive as the world gets more and more digital. Keep drawing — your insights are appreciated.

  10. The irony of the above post in light of the above cartoon points to the issue of conservative brain freeze. After 13 years of GOP actions seemingly aimed at destroying America, they can only point fingers to were Fox News Corp. instructs them to, between cowboy E.D. ads.

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