Today we’re adding cartoonist Gordon Campbell to our site. This is ironic, because Gordon is the latest casualty in the parade of cartoonist job layoffs. Even without a job (at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin), Gordon will continue to draw cartoons regularly as a freelancer – a fate that seems to be in the future for every cartoonist. See Gordon’s cartoon archive. E-mail Gordon. I asked Gordon to tell us a bit about his situation.
And the year started out so promising, too! For over six months a full-blown, knock-down, drag-out political war has been going on over who would be every editorial cartoonist’s favorite target over the next four years. Maybe I was energized by the smell of metaphorical cordite and sulfur, but I’ll be damned if my cartoons weren’t getting better and better as the conflict raged. But, like the theme in Les Miserables, there was an ominous soundtrack playing in the background, increasing in volume, that I was desperate not to hear! This tune, signaling the post-journalistic revolution, was accompanied by another, grating rasp like the sound of hardwood rolling on cobble. The guillotine was wheeling into the newsroom!
Our paper had gone through a lot of down-sizing, right-sizing, cut-backs, re-organizations, re-tooling, ill-conceived projects that begat other ill-conceived projects etc. over the past few years and of course the whole “dead tree biz has been in the gravity of the black hole of “Alternative Media Sources for sometime. On top of all that, Media News had bit off a whole lot more than it could chew when they picked up the northern Cal properties just before the property bubblewell, you all know the tune. Every paper in America has a similar sad song to sing these days.
To “burrow myself in,” so to speak, in 2003 I had begun offering my work to the other papers in the chain por nada. As company papers in our area were functionally merged, my work appeared in all those papers every day as well. I was also the highest “hit man in the on-line editions, a top priority endeavor according to management, so I felt somewhat safe. A week before my papers executions the Daily News of Los Angeles had a similar layoff and cartoonist Patrick O,Connor survived that round. Surely, I thought, I’m in no immediate danger. Ha!
So now I’m free. All my toonist buddies tell me so. They say I just have to see this as an opportunity to soar above the turkeys and fly up to the highest peaks of graphic commentary. I know I should feel liberated but it still seems like part of me is rolling around in a basket on Bastille Day!