Two months after being laid off by the Ventura County Star, former editorial cartoonist Steve Greenberg is back to work in Ventura County, providing weekly cartoons for the alternative-weekly VCReporter.
“[They] jumped at the chance to “grab” me away from the competing daily after I’d approached them merely looking for a place to sell freelance illustrations,” Greenberg said on his blog.
In addition to being given the opportunity to alternate weekly between local and national cartoons, Greenberg wrote this week’s cover story for the VCReporter, and was featured in a three page spread entitled ‘Disappearing ink: Hope for editorial cartoonists.’
Losing his job at the Ventura County Star came as a shock to Greenberg, who felt secure because his primary job at the paper was as their sole informational graphics artist (The Star had cut the other two members of the three-person news art department in previous rounds of layoffs).
“The Star’s move to cut 20 percent of the newsroom staff was no doubt a corporate decision — they’d fought to resist any newsroom layoffs until then — and managers were pushed to make choices quickly,” Greenberg said.
“Cutting the person who was its main source of news graphics and maps, custom illustrations for articles and all its local editorial cartoons wouldn’t have been my call … and it wasn’t.”
Luckily for Greenberg, the VCReporter seems to understands the importance of having a unique and talent voice represented on its pages. And as an alt-weekly, he might even be able to push the envelope with his new cartoons in ways he couldn’t have at his formerly daily staff job.
“The VCReporter is giving me a chance to restart and recharge,” Greenberg said. “Sometimes, when the roller-coaster stops working, you’ve gotta give the Ferris wheel a spin.