the editorial cartoonist for The San Diego Union-Tribune, has won the 2009
Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. It was only the second time his
newspaper has been awarded journalism’s highest honor and the second for
Breen himself; he won while at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey in 1998.
the prize, judges noted Breen’s “agile use of a classic style to produce
wide ranging cartoons that engage readers with power, clarity and humor.”
the news of his second Pulitzer in a manner made for one of his cartoons.
He was looking under a hotel room couch in Hawaii for his daughter’s sandals
as the family was preparing to head home after a week-long vacation.
In a phone
interview, he said: “I’m fully aware that not every cartoon is Pulitzer
material. That said, I’m proud of my Pulitzer portfolio, the 20 that got
page editor Bob Kittle called Breen on his cell phone with the news after
Robert York, senior editor/visuals, walked into the editorial board’s Monday
morning meeting and told everyone.
Breen thought he was joking and “was very humble about it.”
publisher David Copley, who recently sold the newspaper, congratulated
Breen via speaker phone, Kittle said.
gift is to target someone but not be mean-spirited about it,”
Kittle added. “This happens with Steve a lot. The people whom he targets
in a cartoon, whom he criticizes, they call him asking for the original.”
in foreign affairs fueled his career.
my love for the news because of my love for international news,” Breen
said. “When I was starting out in 1988, I was doing cartoons on President
George H. W. Bush, Iraq and the fall of Soviet Union.”
born in Los Angeles in 1970 and grew up in Orange County, the second-oldest
of eight children. He was about to become a high school history teacher
when the Asbury Park Press offered him a job in the art department in July
1994. He became the full-time editorial cartoonist there in 1996 and won
the Pulitzer prize two years later. He joined the Union-Tribune in 2001.
Also nominated as finalists in
the Editorial Cartooning category were: Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free
Press for his “compelling collection of print and animated cartoons that
blend the great traditions of the craft with new online possibilities”;
and Matt Wuerker of Politico for his “engaging mix of art and ideas, resulting
in cleverly conceived cartoons that persuade rather than rant and that
sometimes use animation to widen their impact.”
Thompson’s third time as a finalist, and the first for Wuerker.
after learning he had won the Pulitzer, Breen was honored with the Overseas
Press Club’s Thomas Nast Award for the best cartoons on international affairs.
noted Steve’s “strong graphics, subtle messages and a sense of fun are
in the DNA of Breen’s cartoons, but … he also delivers directness and
a clear point of view. His work is simple, but superb.”
cartoonist for The Economist, received a citation in the category.
Steve Breen was the winner of this year’s National Headliner Award for
Editorial Cartooning, presented by the Press Club of Atlantic City. Don
Asmussen, of the San Francisco Chronicle, took Second place and Clay Bennett,
of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, took Third.
Union-Tribune, Daily Cartoonist. JP Trostle contributed,