Cartoonist’s Note: While I take time away from drawing to organize the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention AAEC - Annual Convention, I am featuring the work of some attendees. (By the way, how many at the conference table can you name?).
Matt Wuerker, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, does his daily cartoons old school, with ink on paper and watercolor washes, which is ironic, since he works for the web-based newspaper, Politico.
Matt is the current President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and I wish he would use his presidential powers to shorten the name of our organization. Half of my time these days is spent spelling out A-s-s-o-c-i-a-t-i-o-n o-f A-m-e-r-i-c-a-n E-d-i-t-o-r-i-a-l C-a-r-t-o-o-n-i-s-t-s in emails to sponsors, vendors, guests and news outlets.
Even saying AAEC is troublesome. Go ahead and try it.
The name of the organization, however, is the least of Matt’s worries. Newspapers are downsizing and cartoonists are caught in the squeeze. Back in the day newspapers used to pay for their staff cartoonist’s AAEC dues, convention registration fees, and hotel and travel expenses. Sometimes there was even a per diem.
For the most part the doughty band of cartoonists who are venturing to Salt Lake in about a week are doing it on their own nickel. However, don’t get the idea that this is the gathering of the Association of Buggy Whip Makers. Cartoonists are as relevant as ever—maybe more than ever.
For example, more people see and respond to my cartoons than ever before. Whereas I used to get local hate-mail, now I get it from around the globe, thanks to the Internet. The younger members of our group are making a place for themselves primarily in the online world. It’s a tough slog, but some are managing to make it work.
Matt is working for a newspaper that is actually growing. Politico gets around 5 million unique visitors to its site every month and is expanding its newsroom and news-gathering capabilities.
The future is out there and I bet there are cartoonists in it.
(Answer to who is in the cartoon: Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Roger Ailes, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove.)