“Due to layoff, my tenure here has come to an end,” writes John de Rosier, editorial cartoonist at Hearst’s Albany Times Union for the last 13 years. “Thank you all for reading, for your comments pro and con, for keeping me on my toes, and for reminding me daily that my opinion is not the only one worth hearing.”
What the Albany Newspaper Guild says: “Eliminating the cartoonist sends a message to readers: We are taking away something you value, something that makes your newspaper distinctive, something you cannot get anywhere else. We value your newspaper less, and you should too.”
Times Union editor Rex Smith says in an email to employees: “We know staff cuts can hurt our product, but we also know that we’re working smarter and more efficiently than we ever have before, and we recognize the promise of journalism in the digital age.”
UPDATE: I emailed De Rosier a few questions and he responded:
I did not see this coming, but it didn’t completely surprise me. It’s no secret that times are tough in our business, but if there’s one refrain we’ve been hearing over and over at the Times Union, it’s that local offerings are what make us strong, distinctive and uniquely valuable in the community.
I never presumed I was bulletproof, but given all the talk about the importance of local content, it would appear that actions and message from the TU brass are not as aligned as they might hope they appear.
What’s next? I’m not entirely sure. I “moonlight” as a custom goldsmith, you can see my work [here]. I may take that to the next level. Beyond that, I have many interests and passions. I see an abundance of opportunity.