Tuesday, March 17, 2009

McClatchy cartoonist resigns rather than accept demotion to part-time

Award-winning cartoonist Robert Ariail says he will resign rather than accept demotion to part-time status as offered by his employer, The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.
The ever-growing ranks of out-of-work editorial cartoonists has added award winner Robert Ariail of The State in Columbia, S.C. Ariail announced on Monday that he’s resigning effective Friday.

Ariail, a Pulitzer finalist in 1995 and 2000, turned down a part-time job that had been offered in the wake of cost-cutting by its parent, The McClatchy Co., the State reports today.

The State has laid off 38 people and cut employee wages as part of the McClatchy-wide downsizing.

Ariail plans to continue his work through United Media syndicate, which serves more than 600 newspapers and magazines. His work has earned him the National Headliner Award (1990); The National Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award (1992); The Overseas Press Club’s Thomas Nast Award (1997); The Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award (an 11-state Southeastern regional competition, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007); honors from the South Carolina Press Association (2007, for three cartoons); and the Hampton Award (named for Ambrose G. Hampton, former owner and publisher of the State) in 1992.

“I hope to find another job in editorial cartooning,” Ariail told the paper. “I’m 53. It’s difficult to remake myself, and I don’t want to.” He joined the State in 1984.

When asked by the State to name his favorite caricature, Ariail named former President Bill Clinton, whom Ariail drew as overweight, wearing an ill-fitting suit, and chowing on cheeseburgers and doughnuts. “I could’ve drawn him in my sleep,” he told the paper.



Anonymous said...

Anyone who would take the part time gig needs to have their head examined and packed off swiftly to gambler's anonymous.

You'd have to be completely delusional to forgo the buyout when they look you right in the eye and say that if you stay, no guaranteed job and there might be no buyout at all next time.

Anyone who would stay under those conditions is a certifiable idiot.

Anonymous said...

Yes, plus there are so many unfilled jobs out there for editorial cartoonists.

Anonymous said...

If drawing cartoons is the only talent or skill you've accumulated in a lifetime, your problems run much deeper than the job market.

Anonymous said...

"If drawing cartoons is the only talent or skill you've accumulated in a lifetime, your problems run much deeper than the job market."

I can't believe I just read that. This guy has managed to earn a decent living for he and his family doing something he loves and is honored amongst his colleagues to boot and you think there's something wrong with him?

Now he has the gonads to tell these managerial incompetents to stuff it and heads out to generate his own income. Wow. I don't even know what side of the fence he's on, but I'd like to know someone like that.

Only talent or skill indeed.

Anonymous said...


A little push a little too late?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I just read that.


You would have if you had read what it was in response to. It wasn't a slam against the guy. It was directed to the comment about there being "so many" unfilled jobs.

Anonymous said...

I just re-read it. I guess I'm missing something, or what you're trying to say isn't translating in this medium. It still comes off as critical to me, but then it wouldn't be the first mistake I've made.

Anonymous said...

Offering this man a part-time gig is no different than when they fired full-time staff and immediately started trying to replace them with freelancers. They're trying to get the same amount of work for less pay by cutting back hours and/or paying only for work that's delivered. Obviously they think they can turn him into a part-timer and get the same number of cartoons.

Now they get no cartoons from him, and no original content.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that he has enough confidence in his skills and his ability to use them to make a living that the decision is reasonable.

That's really all that counts. He is a free person making a free choice. Good for him.

If he can sell his product elsewhere and make a good living I hope he buys Gary's yacht when MNI goes bankrupt.