‘T-P’ Hires Editorial Cartoonist

By: Dave Astor

Steve Kelley has been named editorial cartoonist of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

Kelley, who will assume the post in early August, previously spent about 20 years at The San Diego Union-Tribune before being fired last year in a cartoon dispute. The Times-Picayune cartoon spot had been open for about 15 months, since Walt Handelsman left to join Newsday in Melville, N.Y.

“I’m elated,” Kelley told E&P Online. “The Times-Picayune is full of top-notch journalists.” He added that governmental corruption and other stories in New Orleans make it a great place to be a political cartoonist.

It’s also a great place to eat. “I had seven interviews — all over meals — in three days. I was wondering if they were interviewing me to be a cartoonist or restaurant reviewer,” quipped Kelley, who has worked as a standup comic and often uses humor to make points in his award-winning cartoons.

The 43-year-old Kelley said his political philosophy depends on the issue. He noted that “if you put pushpins in a philosophical map,” more of his views would end up on the right than left side. But Kelley said he’s in favor of gun control and opposes capital punishment.

Kelley said he will create a lot of local cartoons for the Times-Picayune, but is also looking into syndication for the national/international work he’ll do. Copley News Service distributed Kelley when he was with the Union-Tribune.

Since his Union-Tribune tenure ended, Kelley has done little cartooning. Instead, the Virginia native and Dartmouth College graduate has been earning money from speaking engagements.

Handelsman told E&P Online that Kelley and the Times-Picayune are “a good fit. Steve is a very talented cartoonist.” The Tribune Media Services creator added, “I’m glad the Times-Picayune stepped up and hired someone when more and more newspapers are not hiring cartoonists.”

Association of American Editorial Cartoonists President Scott Stantis agreed. “I’m thrilled to death that the Times-Picayune decided to fill the position,” said the Birmingham (Ala.) News/Copley News Service creator. “A cartoonist is such an important voice and conscience of the editorial page, the newspaper, and the community.”

***

Et cetera …

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Editorial cartoonist Joe Sharpnack has a new Web site at http://www.sharptoons.com. …

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