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The Province loses its last cartoonist

The Province newspaper's last cartoonist has left the building.

On Monday Bob Krieger accepted a buyout after 32 years of working as a cartoonist for the newspaper.

Krieger’s last cartoon appeared in the newspaper on November 27, 2012. A couple of months later, Dan Murphy, the other cartoonist employed by the newspaper, quit. Krieger had been working as a web editor for the sports section for the past six months, until he decided he'd rather go back to drawing cartoons.

Krieger took some time today to talk to The Tyee about the role cartoonists play in the media and the way the industry has changed. He also offered some useful advice for anyone who wants to be an editorial cartoonist.

For Krieger, cartoons were always more of a lifestyle than a job, a fun way to make a living that was always stimulating and challenging.

"It was nice to wake up in the morning and know that you could make some arrogant politician feel uncomfortable," said Krieger.

In a time when politicians seem to be making every mistake in the book, it comes as a surprise to Krieger that newspapers are not taking advantage of the role cartoonists are allowed to play.

"I think cartoonists could play a huge role, not just in expanding public debate and engaging people, but in attracting readers to newspapers," he added. "Now it seems to me that the corporate media is way too controlling and they don't want as much of a variety of opinion as newspapers should have."

According to Krieger, there are only two cartoonists west of Toronto: Malcolm Mayes at the Edmonton Journal and Graham Harrop, a freelancer frequently published in the Vancouver Sun.

Shortly after the Province decided to stop running cartoons, a Facebook page called 'Bring back cartoonists Krieger & Murphy to The Province newspaper' was created. It currently has 277 members.

Still, Krieger believes things might be easier for up-and-coming cartoonist thanks to the web. The real issue, he says, is getting paid for your work, but that seems to be the case for the industry as a whole.

When it comes to advice for future cartoonists, he only had one: "Don't undersell your work."

For now, Krieger says he's going to start cranking out some cartoons and posting them on his website.

Aurora Tejeida is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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