Wuerker Gets Herblocked

Posted by on February 19th, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist for Politico, was named the winner of the 2010 Herblock Prize on February 17. Awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by Herblock,” the prize consists of a sterling silver Tiffany trophy and $15,000 after-tax cash award.

In a Politico news release, editor-in-chief John F. Harris congratulated Wuerker for being “at the top of his game and enjoying it more than ever at a moment when his work matters more than ever,” adding: “Wuerker is funny—the essential prerequisite for a cartoonist. But his cartoons work for other reasons. He assumes and appreciates the intelligence of his audience and never forgets, even when his subjects do, the spirit of public interest that should animate the work of important people in Washington.”

Wuerker’s cartoons have been a Politico signature since its launch three years ago, appearing in the newspaper and online, as well as in art accompanying enterprise stories from Politico journalists.

“There are so many wonderful cartoonists working today, producing great, strong cartoons who are certainly equally deserving, many of whom I’m lucky to know as friends,” Wuerker said, adding he was “absurdly lucky to get singled out like this. Most of all,” he continued, “I feel lucky to have been pulled aboard Politico when it set sail. It’s been a remarkable ride. The staff here are such smart journalists and supportive friends. And my editors, specifically John and [Executive Editor] Jim [VandeHei], are dream editors for a cartoonist. Their unwavering support of my creative freedom here, and the generous use of cartoons and caricature on the site, are all things for which I will always be grateful.”

Speaking for myself, I’m delighted to see Wuerker get this award. His cartoons, bristling with coarse-grained crosshatch, are almost always sharply pointed and unflinching. And in a day when full-time staff editorial cartoonist positions at newspapers are fast disappearing, it’s soul-satisfying to see a long-time freelancer getting recognition. Before his gig with Politico, Wuerker self-syndicated his cartoons, getting them published in a wide range of periodicals—everything from the monthly newspaper Funny Times to The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation to such mainstream dailies as The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times—but having a home nowhere. He hustled and he hung on, and it paid off, at last, with the Politico job. And now, with the profession’s most prestigious award.

Previous winners of the Herblock Prize so far have been Matthew Davies of the Journal News, Tony Auth of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeff Danziger of the New York Times Syndicate, Jim Morin of the Miami Herald, Jon Sherffius of the Boulder Camera and Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.