De Rosier’s Final Cartoon For The Albany Times Union

Today on his blog, Albany Times-Union cartoonist John de Rosier filed his final cartoon for the paper. de Rosier was notified earlier this week that he was being laid off due to budget cuts, along with full-time photographer Phil Kamrass. At least the paper let him go out in style, unlike Clay Jones, whose final cartoon was killed by his editor at the Free Lance Star.

john de rosier cartoon De Rosiers Final Cartoon For The Albany Times Union cartoons

Tim O’Brien, the president of the Albany Newspaper Guild, has a nice blog post up about the lost of de Rosier’s cartooning job at the Times-Union, and its larger implications to a newspaper that just earned a Newspaper of Distinction Award from the Associated Press:

A distinctive art form is being steadily destroyed by people who look purely at revenue. It’s hard to say that an editorial cartoonist generates a certain amount of income for the newspaper, just as it is hard to say how much any single reporter or photographer does. But eliminating the cartoonist sends a message to readers: We are taking away something you value, something that makes your newspaper distinctive, something you cannot get anywhere else. We value your newspaper less, and you should too.

It’s a terrible message, and it comes at a price that may not be immediately apparent but will cost newspapers dearly in the long run.

“We know staff cuts can hurt our product,” wrote Times Union editor Rex Smith in an email to employees, “but we also know that we’re working smarter and more efficiently than we ever have before, and we recognize the promise of journalism in the digital age.

It’s a shame Smith doesn’t recognize the importance and promise political cartoons can offer to newspapers online in the digital age.


New York Loses Two Editorial Cartoonists

As readers here a quite aware, times are tough for political cartoonists. As print media continues its slow decline and newspapers continue to cut back, staff cartoonists are often caught in the budgetary cross-hairs. In the past week alone, two staff cartoonists, both from New York, were the latest to receive their pink slips.

Today, John de Rosier, the staff cartoonist at the Albany Times Union, was notified he was among the newspaper’s layoffs.  de Rosier has been the paper’s editorial cartoonist since 1999. A staff photographer was also laid-off.

“Currently, the Times Union is building a new press, so I think many employees were thinking that, although finances are tight – as they are with the entire industry, perhaps the worst was behind us, especially following a much larger layoff several years ago,” de Rosier said. “Now it’s time for new directions, and I really do see that for the huge opportunity that it is. I am confident that great things await.”

Interestingly, de Rosier enjoys metalworking, and has produced some impressive jewelry. Check out his Web site here.

Just last week, Syracuse Post-Standard editorial cartoonist Frank Cammuso found out he was among 115 employees who won’t have a job after January 31, when the paper adopts the three-times-a-week schedule other Newshouse papers have moved to in an attempt to lower costs and bolster their digital offerings.

“Unfortunately for political cartoonists, the writing has been on the wall for a while,” Cammuso said. “Luckily, I have been preparing for this day. I’ve been writing and drawing graphic novels for last ten years. It’s time now to do it full time.”

Check out Frank’s cartoons and his graphic novels at his terrific Web site.