Nick Anderson, Editorial Cartoonist

April 15, 2005

    Nick Anderson takes serious topics, adds his touch of satire, a dash of acerbic wit and finishes them off with fine, professional pen-work. Presto! A comic statement that gives politicians a black eye or the medical system a jolt. From early cartooning as a teenager to becoming full-time editorial cartoonist, he now has reached the acme of editorial cartooning: Pulitzer Prize Winner for 2005.

   During his school years Nick drew cartoons for his high school newspaper. He knew by the adolescent age of 15 that cartooning was the career he wanted. After graduation from St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, Nick went on to attend Ohio State University, earning a degree in Political Science in 1991. He continued drawing, creating cartoons for OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern. *(1)

   As part of his education, Nick interned for a summer with the Curier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky. While at university, he also earned the celebrated Charles M. Schulz Award in 1989, for “best college cartoonist in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

   On completion of university, the Courier-Journal hired the new graduate. They so admired his style that they created a position for Nick as associate editorial cartoonist. The newspaper already had a good cartoonist on staff but they “didn’t want to let him [Nick] get away,” said editorial director David Hawpe in the Courier-Journal on April 5/05. It was an unusual move at the time, since many newspapers were doing away with staff cartoonists, not adding them. The newspaper has no regrets. “This is a newspaper that puts a priority on editorial cartooning.” *(2)

Nick Anderson

   With his political cartoons renowned for clarity, sharpness and satire, Nick enjoys a popular following. Promoted to Chief Editorial Cartoonist of the Courier-Journal in 1995, The Washington Post Writers Group picked up Nick’s striking cartoons for syndication in 1996. Rather than looking for a quick laugh, his cartoons seem to focus on opening readers’ eyes, encouraging thought on the irony and, well, the stupidity of the world around us. On the, Nick spoke about his philosophy on his work. “Through my cartoons, I strive to defend the sensible center from the extremes of ideological dogma. I try to neutralize the self-importance that corrupts our political system and highlight the intellectual dishonesty that corrupts the marketplace of ideas.” *(3)

   Nick won the Best of Gannett Award in 1997 and the Fischetti Award in 1999. The Fischetti Award, and cash prize of $5,000, is given each year in honour of the late John Fischetti, editorial cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, for professional editorial cartooning judged best in North America. (The Fischetti Award also recognizes students in a different section of the contest.) In 2001, Nick was honoured with the Sigma Delta Chi Mark of Excellence Award.

    As many editorial cartoonists do, Nick submitted a bundle of 20 cartoons each year to the Pulitzer Prize contest panel. The subjects of his cartoons ranged from the war in Iraq, politics at home, the economy, healthcare and other issues. When the list of finalists was “leaked” his name was not among potential candidates; he thought he was out of the running. On April 4th, the winners were announced.

   Nick Anderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial cartooning.

   Hearing a staffer scream about the award, Nick was caught off-guard at his office. *(2) The Pulitzer Prize and attendant $10,000 cash award was given to the cartoonist “for his unusual graphic style that produced extraordinarily thoughtful and powerful images.” Nick was also honoured to be in the company of his prestigious fellow nominees, Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury and Don Wright of The Palm Beach Post.

   Born in Toledo, Ohio to parents Donald and Adrienne Anderson; his father is a retired partner/head of research of The Andersons Inc., an agriculture and retail business in Maumee, Ohio. His mother was a registered nurse who passed away in 1971. *(1) Nick now lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Cecilia Baylon. They have two sons, Travis and Colton. Nick’s work appears in USA Today, The Washington Post, Newsweek, New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Courier-Journal and many other newspapers.

   Congratulations, Nick Anderson. Cheers to more great motivating editorial cartoons!

   More information about Nick Anderson and his award-winning work at these three sites:

*(2) Find photos of Nick Anderson and his newspaper’s story about his win: (Link missing)


   The John Fischetti Award site:

   The Pulitzer Prize site:

© Susanna McLeod 2005  
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on