Cartoonist Kevin Necessary joining WCPO full time

More than a year ago, I wrote about how Kevin Necessary nearly gave up on his dream of being an editorial cartoonist.

At the time, we were expanding the number of cartoons we published from Kevin.

Kevin was working for us as a freelance artist. We paid him for two to three cartoons each week.

Since that time, Kevin’s cartoons have grown more and more popular. He has skewered local elected officials, tackled the quirky and important, provided art for our fun Caption This! contest and poked at those things that make Cincinnati special.

His work has reached literally millions of people.

For example, his cartoon on musician Prince’s death was seen by more than 12 million people — just on Facebook.

But we have been just scratching the surface of Kevin’s talent and the evolution of a modern editorial cartoonist.

That’s why we have hired Kevin as a full-time staff member.

Starting today, you can expect even more cartoons.

But that’s not all. Kevin will be using his art and journalism skills to produce special projects with compelling storytelling.

If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the "Childhood Saved: From needles and neglect to hugs and hope" project he worked on with Lucy May.

Kevin and Lucy used a graphic novel approach to tell the story of one family struggling with childhood poverty.

We felt as a news organization we had covered many facets of the childhood poverty problem. But we struggled to tell the story of kids in poverty that fall into state care because those children’s identities need to be protected.

How do we get people to understand what these kids go through if we can’t take photos or use the names of these children?

That’s where Kevin’s talent came in.

The result was an innovative and fascinating look at one family’s challenges.

Kevin is now one of fewer than 50 full-time editorial cartoonists in the U.S. media. He’s the only full-time editorial cartoonist in Cincinnati. He’s a Cincinnati native who cares deeply about this community.

 

Kevin pushed us to address gun violence.

“I'm excited to start my next chapter as part of the WCPO team,” Kevin said. “Cincinnati has a rich history of editorial cartoonists. I never take for granted how lucky I am to have found a place where I can add my own voice to that legacy. I feel we've only cracked the surface for the storytelling potential using cartoons and illustrations, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.”

I can’t wait either.

Mike Canan is editor of WCPO.com. Contact him at mike.canan@wcpo.com. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @Mike_Canan.

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