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R.I.P. Editorial Cartooning

If you are a big fan of editorial cartoons, then yesterday was Black Thursday. McClatchy, which operates 29 daily newspapers, has decided that devoting space to such content no longer makes sense. And so, the publisher fired all of the editorial cartoonists on its payroll. Among the heads that rolled were those of three Pulitzer Prize winners: Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee, Joel Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader and Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer.

The cartoonists who lost their jobs all said they were stunned and that they did not see this coming. That may be true in the sense of "I didn't realize I would be out of work by July 15." On the other hand, the trends that led the industry to this place have been evident for years, and even decades. In no particular order:

Naturally, just because we understand the reasons that editorial cartooning has one foot in the grave does not mean we cheer this development. It's a shame that an art form with such a celebrated history is headed the way of the dodo, but nothing lasts forever. It's really the print equivalent of AM radio, a 20th-century cultural force that has become a dinosaur in the 21st century. (Z)

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