‘Las Vegas Sun’ to Keep Editorial Cartoonist After Merger

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By: Dave Astor

It’s not yet known how many Las Vegas Sun jobs will be lost when the evening daily becomes a section of the morning Las Vegas Review-Journal. But, in an era where many staff editorial cartoonist slots have disappeared, the Sun’s man in that position appears safe.

“My job is going to be fine. I’m staying on as editorial cartoonist,” said Mike Smith, when contacted today.

That was confirmed by Sun Managing Editor Michael J. Kelley. “We’re going to still have an editorial page and Op-Ed page, and Mike Smith is going to be on it,” he told E&P. “He’s a great treasure.”

Smith, 45, is a 22-year Sun veteran who also does a weekly editorial cartoon for USA Today. His Sun editorial cartoons — and NASCAR-themed “Stockcar Toons” weekly feature — are distributed by King Features Syndicate.

Kelley said it’s not yet known if there will be room for “Stockcar Toons” in the Sun section. But other papers, of course, will continue to run it via King.

The Sun section will start appearing in the Review-Journal no later than Sept. 30, according to Kelley. He said plans call for the Sun to be eight full pages (not counting ads) each weekday, six on Saturday, and 10 on Sunday.

“That’s 56 pages a week of good, serious journalism,” said Kelley, who mentioned that this would include investigative stories, in-depth articles, sports content, arts and entertainment coverage, and more. What it will not include are stories — such as coverage of meetings, crimes, and sports events — that would duplicate Review-Journal content.

“We will be more like a magazine, only the articles will be shorter,” said Kelley. “And we still intend to break news.”

Kelley added that, given the Review-Journal’s much larger circuation, Smith and other Sun staffers who keep their jobs will have many more readers.

A major disadvantage of the arrangement, of course, is that some people will probably lose their jobs. “I don’t know how many, but hopefully not too many,” said Kelley. When asked about the mood among Sun staffers, the managing editor replied: “There’s obviously apprehension.”

The Review-Journal — which is editorially more conservative than the Sun — also has a political cartoonist, Jim Day. So the combined newspaper entity will become a rare daily with two people in that position. Smith said he doesn’t anticipate that the competition between him and Day will change in any significant way.

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