Thought bubbles win again: Westchester Journal News cuts entire business staff, keeps cartoonist

Westchester’s Journal News has completed their reorganization, and the verdict is in: cartoons beat business.

The Gannett-owned paper announced today they had decided to lay off their entire business staff in an effort to make good on their August 12 pledge to cut 50 editorial staff members. But the paper determined the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, Matt Davies, can stay.

The choice sheds light on an interesting trend begun last week by the Chicago Tribune. Despite decreasing revenue, the Windy City paper decided to hire editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis, a move the Tribune’s senior vice president and editor Gerould Kern said would “give a new dimension to our role as watchdog over the community’s interests.”

And spurred by the popularity of internet images and slideshows, Ted Rall said this:

Competing with the Internet requires newspapers to showcase their editorial pages and to use edgier, more graphic content.

But the Journal’s decision also reveals the local paper’s discouraging stance on business reporting. Who will report on local business news? And what about the entire newspaper industry?

The good news is these staff members will be able to reapply for different jobs as part of the Journal’s restructuring plan. Maybe there’s a new opening for a crossword puzzle editor.

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