Tallahassee Lad  | American Journalism Review
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From AJR,   September 2002

Tallahassee Lad   

The Tallahassee Democrat hires its first political cartoonist, Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Marlette.

By Kathryn S. Wenner
Kathryn S. Wenner, a former AJR associate editor, is a copy editor at the Washington Post.     

The Tallahassee Democrat hooks a big one, hiring Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Marlette as its first political cartoonist. Marlette, 52, who praises the paper for having the "creative imagination" and will to spend money on a cartoonist at a time when fewer and fewer newspapers are doing so, calls Florida the country's "petri dish" for issues. "What's going on down there seems to be what's going on in America," he says. Marlette will continue living in his native North Carolina, where he just finished a year as distinguished visiting professor at the University of North Carolina J-school. The creator of the comic strip "Kudzu," Marlette also published his first novel last year. "The Bridge," about a 1934 mill strike in which Marlette's grandmother was bayoneted, is being made into a film by Tom Cruise's production company. The cartoonist is working on another novel, set in present-day and 1960s Mississippi, where as a teenager Marlette witnessed what he calls the "battle days" of the civil rights era.