Pulitzer Winner Advocates the Power of Cartooning

By: Dave Astor

David Horsey’s first Pulitzer Prize in 1999 brought tangible benefits beyond the thrill and satisfaction of winning. He moved his editorial cartoons from a package with King Features Syndicate to individual distribution with Tribune Media Services — and they now appear in about 250 newspapers. And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer asked him to get involved in more aspects of his home newspaper, including long-range planning.

So now that the P-I staffer has pulled off the unusual feat of winning a second cartooning Pulitzer, are there any other tangible benefits to be had in the future?

“A company car,” joked Horsey. “How about a company Maserati?”

Actually, Horsey plans to use his latest Pulitzer as incentive to keep working as hard as possible. His cartoons will be especially scrutinized now, and “I don’t want to embarrass myself!”

Cartoons about the embarrassing Clinton-Lewinsky scandal were among the drawings that brought Horsey his 1999 Pulitzer. This time, he took on weightier issues, such as corporate corruption, the lead-up to the Iraq war, and the Bush administration’s radical policy changes in areas ranging from homeland security to taxes to the environment. “It was a whole different level,” says Horsey, 51.

The former Association of American Editorial Cartoonists president wishes more newspapers shared the P-I‘s belief in the importance of editorial cartoons. Some do, but others haven’t replaced staff cartoonists — or never hired them in the first place.

“Most readers like editorial cartoons,” says Horsey, who joined the P-I in 1979. “Even if they hate them, they like hating them! Cartoons are a point of entry into newspapers, and they give people something to argue about. They have a very intense readership.”

Horsey is only the 11th cartoonist to win multiple Pulitzers since the category began back in 1922. Other editorial-cartoon finalists this year were Rex Babin of The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee and King, and 2002 winner Clay Bennett of The Christian Science Monitor and Christian Science Monitor News Service.

See the complete list of Pulitzer winners, including links to the work that won the prizes.

E&P welcomes letters to the editor: letters@editorandpublisher.com.

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