The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has hired Steve Kelley as its new full-time editorial cartoonist. Kelley will be joining the staff of the Pennsylvania paper beginning Nov. 4, drawing five cartoons a week.
In a brief phone interview, the cartoonist talked about the opportunity. "I'm just thankful to have another gig," said Kelley, who thought he might never have another staff job after being laid off from the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2012. "I like a newsroom. I like the pulse — that matters to me."
Kelley, a rare conservative voice in the editorial cartooning field, follows long-time Pittsburgh cartoonist Rob Rogers. The newspaper made nationwide news earlier this year when, as the Daily Cartoonist put it, "the Post-Gazette famously parted ways with liberal-leaning cartoonist Rob Rogers."
Acknowledging the announcement surprised a lot of people, who had grown used to newspapers dropping the position entirely, Kelley thought the paper should be commended for hiring any cartoonist. "The publisher really likes cartoons and thinks they can make a difference to the public."
In a press release over the weekend, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief John Block wrote, “Since my grandfather acquired the Post-Gazette in 1923, cartooning has been a hallowed tradition of this newspaper. It is with great pride and pleasure that I welcome Steve Kelley. I am confident that he will be worthy of the legacy of the great Cy Hungerford.”
Cyrus Hungerford drew for the Post-Gazette during an impressive 50-year run from 1927 to 1977. He was followed by Tim Menees, and Rogers.
Steve Kelley got his start drawing cartoons in college at Dartmouth. Landing at the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1981, his first job lasted 20 years before he moved on to New Orleans in 2002. In 2010, he began working with cartoonist Jeff Parker on the daily comic strip Dustin, which is still syndicated by Kings Feature. After the Times-Picayune layoff in 2012, Kelley continued to submit editorial cartoons to Creators Syndicate, and work on his comedy writing (Kelley is also a standup comedian who has appeared on the "Tonight Show" seven times.) Steve Kelley has also won numerous cartooning and journalism awards, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999, and served as the president of the AAEC from 2010-2011.
Kelley plans to continue both the daily comic strip and his comedy writing after moving to Pittsburgh. — JP Trostle
In a harbinger of things to come, Steve Kelley is seen here at the AAEC Convention in Pittsburgh in 2003, using the window of a dining room on Mt. Washington overlooking the three rivers as an ad-hoc lightbox.