Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Cartoonist Cal Grondahl, others lose jobs at Ogden newspaper
First Published Jan 13 2014 04:38 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2014 07:37 am

Iconic Utah editorial cartoonist Cal Grondahl was among as many as a dozen newspaper staffers let go Friday at Ogden’s Standard-Examiner.

Grondahl, 63, said Monday that Executive Editor Andy Howell had informed him "they were closing out the position" and the veteran cartoonist walked out of the newsroom thinking he was the only one fired. He said he later learned staff reductions at the daily paper included between six and 12 colleagues, including Grondahl’s close friend, graphic arts director Michael Goodwin, and longtime sports editor and columnist Chris Miller.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It’s hard for me because of my friends," said Grondahl, who has worked at Utah’s third largest newspaper since 1986. "I’m just glad that it wasn’t any worse than it was."

The layoffs, reportedly affecting news-gathering and support positions, follow deep staffing cuts at The Salt Lake Tribune in September and at the Mormon church-owned Deseret News more than three years ago — all in the face of declining print circulation and advertising revenue.

"They told me it had nothing to do with the quality of my work," Grondahl said. "I don’t know what the numbers are but I hear the rumors. They have to make some hard decisions. I can see that."

The Standard-Examiner, owned by the Ohio-based Sandusky Newspaper chain, had daily print circulation of about 44,076 readers and 52,626 on Sundays, as of late 2012 audit figures. Reached Monday, Howell declined to comment on the extent of the layoffs, referring inquiries to Standard-Examiner Publisher Charles Horton III, who did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Howell called Grondahl "an institution" and said the newspaper was pursuing several proposals to continue working with him on a contractual basis.

Known for his mordant caricatures of Utah and Mormon culture and Ogden’s political scene, Grondahl was a popular fixture on the newspaper’s editorial pages.

"He does a unique job on what are sometimes sharp and emotional issues," said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who acknowledged he had collected every one of Grondahl’s cartoons of him. "He’s brought a sense of comedy and lightness and reminded us never to take ourselves too seriously."

Grondahl is also an author and is considered the respected elder of a cadre of Utah cartoonists who trained at Brigham Young University, among them Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Benson at The Arizona Republic and The Tribune’s own cartoonist, Pat Bagley.


story continues below
story continues below

Benson, Bagley and other cartoonists have enjoyed Grondahl’s mentoring through their careers, beginning when they were students at BYU and Grondahl cartooned for the Deseret News, Bagley said.

Grondahl, he said, "was the pooh-bah."

"Cal is always thinking, always entertaining and always has something interesting to say," said Bagley, who singled out Grondahl’s brush-drawn illustrations and sense of composition in particular as "gorgeous."

"He’s just an absolute genius," he said.

Raised in Grand Forks, N.D., before coming to Provo to attend BYU in 1971, Grondahl said "drawing was about all I could do in school. I flunked everything except art."

Grondahl said that while Bagley chooses his cartoon themes from the wide field of political and social debate, he preferred to focus more locally.

"I work in lockstep with the editorials," said Grondahl. "I’m not partisan. I’m not trying to convert or uncovert anyone to anything. I just don’t want to die angry."

Grondahl said he was at ease with departing the daily grind of newspaper deadlines. Social media, he said, had transformed cartooning, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to grab an image, put a caption on it and publish it to a wide audience.

"I’ve had my time. I could hang up my lightsaber right now," said the devoted fan of the "Star Wars" film series.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.