Winners of National Editorial Cartoon Competition Announced

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Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition Celebrates 22nd Year. Annual auction to have an Ebay component for first time.

Editorial cartoonists John Cole of the The Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C., and Steve Sack of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis are the first- and second-place winners of the 22nd Annual John Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition sponsored by Columbia College Chicago. The winning drawings were chosen from more than 160 entries.

Their original work, along with 20 new editorial cartoons donated by past winners of the prestigious Fischetti competition, will be on display at the Columbia College Library, 624 S. Michigan Ave., from April 5 through April 16. A special reception honoring the cartoonists will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in the college library, and the cartoons on display will be auctioned.

John Fischetti was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose work was published in the New York Herald-Tribune, the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times. Shortly after his death in 1980, friends created the endowment in his honor, which has helped educate more than 400 students, many of them now award-winning journalists themselves.

This year’s first-place winner is a visual commentary on the hypocrisy of the late U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., who once ran for president on a segregationist platform. Cole’s first panel depicts a brick wall with side-by-side water fountains, one labeled “white,” the other “black.” The second panel shows a four-poster bed, with the same signs: “white” on one side, “black” on the other.

“Competitions like the Fischetti reinforce the fact that well-conceived, hard-hitting and pointed cartoons are central to a newspaper’s mission,” Cole said. “I would like to think that 100 years from now, today’s cartoonists will enable students to understand the times surrounding people like Bill Clinton and George Bush, or events like 9-11 or the 2000 presidential election.”

Political cartooning has a rich history in U.S. journalism, but Cole noted, “Our craft has suffered a number of lost positions and opportunities during the past couple of decades as newspapers retrench in tough financial times.”

Sack’s winning entry portrays President Bush standing at a podium on a pier, his back to the sea, declaring, “No decision has been made…” as battleships loom and warplanes fly overhead.

Gary Markstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher of The Baltimore Sun earned honorable mentions in the competition. Markstein drew the President arriving in Africa with the caption, “Bush finds weapons of mass destruction…” Waiting for him are pitiful figures labeled “civil war,” “poverty,” “HIV/AIDS” and “infant mortality.” Kallaugher created an upright elephant and a cigar-chomping man in formal attire holding hands, with Bush dressed as a vicar, explaining that of course he believed in “same sects marriage,” a commentary on the cozy relationship between Republicans and big business.

The free public exhibit of these thought-provoking cartoons will be open during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, starting April 5.

Tickets for the reception and live auction are priced at $35 per person; $100 benefactor; and $250 patron.

The auction held during the reception is a major source of scholarship funds. Last year, 27 students earned Fischetti scholarships. This year, rare Fischetti originals donated by his widow, Karen Fischetti, will be auctioned along with new ones drawn by past Fischetti winners.

Even people who cannot come to the April 15 event will have a chance to bid this year, since an Ebay component has been added to the live and silent auctions. More information, including reproductions of all the cartoons to be auctioned, is available at

Located in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop, Columbia College blends the best of theory and practice in a dynamic and diverse urban environment. It is the country’s largest private arts and communication college in the country. There are more than 500 journalism majors.

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