TUE, APR 11, 2023 (1:04:46)

What is the role of the cartoonist in the today’s convoluted world? Is it poking fun at the powerful, parodying the absurdities of life or according to cartoonist Rob Rogers, acting as “a troublemaker”. He should know for when Rogers depicted Donald Trump too angrily, he was fired from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. So, stakes run high for picking up the artistic pen.

But while Rogers poked fun at Trump, Scott Adams embraced Trump’s world view. Adams, whose “Dilbert” cartoon strip catapulted him to fame, recently courted controversy by describing Black people as a “hate group.” Consequently, more than 300 publications announced they would no longer be running Dilbert. Critics say his politics crept into his art when he introduced a token Black character to represent his negative views on racial diversity, albeit with greater subtlety. Is there still a role for Adams in the world of cartooning and are there any topics that are off-limits? Do cultural norms and political climates affect what is acceptable to ridicule?

Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter for GBH News will act as guest moderator for this timely discussion which features three prominent cartoonists. Barbara Brandon-Croft, the first black female syndicated cartoonist in America and author of a new book, “Where I’m Coming From: Selected Strips 1991-2005” says she drew cartoons because her voice needed to be heard. Brandon-Croft is joined by “Kal” Kallaugher, the international award-winning cartoonist for The Economist magazine, whose career spans 45 years, two continents and 10,000 cartoons. Dan Wasserman, from The Boston Globe will complete the trio. Wasserman began cartooning for The Globe in 1985 and drew for the editorial page for 35 years; his work has been syndicated internationally since 1980. In 1984, Wasserman was a finalist for the H L Mencken Human Rights Award for cartooning.

+ BIO: Barbara Brandon-Croft

Barbara Brandon-Croft was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island. After debuting her comic strip Where I’m Coming From in the Detroit Free Press in 1989, Brandon-Croft became the first Black woman cartoonist to be published nationally by a major syndicate. During its 15 year run, Where I’m Coming From appeared in over 65 newspapers across the USA and Canada, as well as Jamaica, South Africa, and Barbados. Her comics are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. Brandon-Croft lives in Queens.

+ BIO: "Kal" Kallaugher

Kevin Kallaugher (KAL) is the editorial cartoonist for The Economist magazine of London, The Baltimore Sun and the online newsletter Counterpoint.

After graduating from Harvard College with honors in 1977, Kevin embarked on a bicycle tour of the British Isles, where he joined the Brighton Basketball Club as a player and coach. After the club hit financial difficulties, Kevin drew caricatures of tourists in Trafalgar Square and on Brighton Pier. In March 1978, The Economist recruited him to become their first resident cartoonist in their 145 year history.

+ BIO: Dan Wasserman

Wasserman joined the Globe in 1985. He is syndicated in 40 papers in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, and is the author of two books, We’ve Been Framed and Paper Cuts (1995). Wasserman has a BA from Swarthmore College and studied at The Arts Students League of New York.

+ BIO: Phillip Martin

Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter for The WGBH News Center for Investigative Reporting, is a multi-award winning journalist. Honors include the 2019 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the National Society of Professional Journalists 2017 Sigma Delta Chi award for Best Investigative Reporting and the 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Investigative Reporting. He is also the recipient of the 2013 New York Festivals Gold Award and the 2013 United Nations UNDPI Gold Award. He was part of a team of reporters that was honored in 2002 with a George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. He has received numerous other journalism and civic engagement honors over the course of his career including AP, NABJ, regional Edward R. Murrow, AAJA, Rueban Salazar, Gabriel, Prized Pieces, PRNDI, Harry Chapin and Clarion awards. WGBH also awarded Phillip one of its highest honors, the Margret and Hans Rey Producer of the Year Award (2011-2012).

Phillip was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and most recently a Pulitzer-Center grantee (2018). He has also received fellowships from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the U.S. Japan Media Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and the Poynter Institute. He is the recipient of two major Ford Foundation grants and reporting grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Paul Robeson Fund. Phillip earned a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and studied international protection of human rights law at Harvard Law School as well as journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in the Program for Minority Journalists.

Phillip hosted the highly praised podcast, Heat and Light, produced by The Conversation about key events that shaped the year 1998. He worked as a supervising senior editor for NPR from 2003 to 2006 and was NPR’s first national race-relations correspondent from 1998 to 2001. He was executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions, a nonprofit public radio journalism project that he developed “dedicated to exploring issues that divide and unite society”. His Color Initiative, an occasional series of reports about the global impact of skin color, aired on The World from 2007 to 2010.

He is a contributing reporter to PRI’s The World, a co-production of WGBH, the BBC, PRX and PRI; a program, which he helped develop as a senior producer in 1995 and Phillip is an advisory board member for the Groundtruth Project and the Economic Hardship Project.

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