Marlette Says He’s Joining ‘Tulsa World’ Partly Because It’s Family-Owned

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By: Dave Astor

One reason editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette is moving to the Tulsa World is because the Oklahoma newspaper is owned by a family rather than a chain.

“I like the idea that there’s a human aspect,” said Marlette, especially given that “it’s a harrowing time for political cartoonists” as jobs disappear.

He added that the World offers “terrific” coverage of its city, region, and state. “They take traditional journalism seriously,” commented Marlette, who said he wants to be part of that.

The cartoonist, who’ll join the World Feb. 12, also said he likes the idea of working “in the middle of America.”

Marlette — winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1988 — was reached Tuesday afternoon in Norman, Okla., where he’s a visiting professor at the University of Oklahoma. He said his relationship with the university, which will continue for the “foreseeable future,” is another reason why he feels moving to the World from the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat is a good idea.

Since joining the Democrat in 2002, Marlette has worked off-site from his North Carolina home. Now that his son has finished high school, Marlette and his wife plan to move to Tulsa within a year.

Marlette said he enjoyed his time at the Democrat, and enjoyed the opportunity to do cartoons about Gov. Jeb Bush and other people and issues in Florida.

“We loved having Doug here and hate to lose him,” said Mary Ann Lindley, editorial page editor at the Democrat. “He did a great job for us.”

With editorial cartoonist jobs so scarce, many artists are undoubtedly wondering if the Democrat will replace Marlette. Lindley said she doesn’t know yet. She did tell E&P that at least five cartoonists have already contacted her to say they’d like to work for the Democrat.

Lindley reported that the paper will continue to run Marlette’s editorial cartoons and “Kudzu” comic — both syndicated by Tribune Media Services — after he joins the World. “We’re happy with whatever particles of Doug we’ll retain,” Lindley said wryly.

Another “particle” of Marlette’s resume is writing fiction. His first novel, “The Bridge,” was published in 2001. His second novel, “Magic Time,” is slated to be released this September by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Before joining the Democrat, Marlette worked for The Charlotte (N.C) Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Newsday of Melville, N.Y.

He joked: “I’m an itinerant cartoonist who follows the chuckle harvest from town to town.”

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