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Pulitzer-Winning Cartoonist Among Laid Off at Arizona Republic

The Republic building in 2013.
The Republic building in 2013.
Zeb Micelli, CC 1.0
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The Arizona Republic laid off two staffers on Wednesday as part of a national cost-cutting effort by Gannett, the paper's parent company, according sources in the newsroom.

The layoffs were announced in an office-wide email Wednesday afternoon that did not name the staffers who were let go.

Newsroom sources say the two editorial employees laid off today were Steve Benson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, and Matthew Crowley, a digital desk editor.

Benson is a veteran of the Republic, joining the paper in 1981. He won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1993 and was a finalist for the award in 1984, 1989, 1992, and 1994. Although most of his career has been in Arizona, he did a brief stint at the Morning News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington in the early '90s.

Crowley was a recent addition to the paper, joining in March, according to his LinkedIn. Before coming to Arizona, he worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal for nearly 20 years.

Benson and Crowley could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Gannett layoffs on Wednesday also affected journalists at the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Indianapolis Star, reporters from those papers said on Twitter.

Republic executive editor Greg Burton deferred questions to a Gannett spokesperson. The spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

The Republic last had a round of layoffs in 2017, letting go of four editorial employees.

The layoffs this year come shortly after reports that Digital First Media, a hedge fund subsidiary known for gutting newspapers, is seeking a hostile takeover of Gannett and its properties, including USA Today, the Republic, and nearly 100 other papers.

This is a developing story that will be updated with new information.

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