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Matt Bors Named 2012 Herblock Prize Winner

March 12, 2012

For Immediate Release 

WASHINGTON, DC, March 12 – Matt Bors, a nationally syndicated alternative editorial cartoonist, was named the winner of the 2012 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. 

The prize is awarded annually by The Herb Block Foundation for “distinguished examples of editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous standard set by Herblock.” The winner receives a $15,000 after-tax cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy. Bors will receive the prize May 10 in a ceremony held at the Library of Congress.

 Jen Sorensen, who is the cartoonist behind Slowpoke, a weekly strip that appears in alternative newspapers around the country, was named this year’s finalist.

 Cartoonist Garry Trudeau will deliver the annual Herblock Lecture at the awards ceremony. Previous speakers have included Ben Bradlee, then Senator Barack Obama, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Ted Koppel, George Stevens Jr. and Jim Lehrer.

 Sarah Alex, executive director of the Foundation, noted that this was the first year for an alternative cartoonist to win the Herblock Prize, marking a milestone for the award. “The decision of the judges reflects how the industry is changing and how the foundation seeks to broaden the cartooning reach of the prize,” she said.

 Judges for this year’s contest were Tom Toles of The Washington Post and winner of the 2011 Herblock Prize, Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News - and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning - and Jenny Robb, Curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University.

The judges were unanimous in their praise for Bors. 

Toles said Bors’ cartoons are “relevant, smart, surprising, wickedly funny. A completely successful combination of all the elements that make great editorial cartoons.”

 Wilkinson singled out Bors’ cartoon on the death of Steve Jobs for particular attention. “Matt Bors’ editorial cartoon on the death of Steve Jobs minced off-shore capitalism, Chinese sweatshops, at least two religions and idiotic cartoon clichés. It was the most masterful cartoon of this masterful collection,” she said. 

"Matt Bors' submission represents satire at its best," Robb said. "In the spirit of Herblock, Bors' passion for the causes he believes in and his strong, independent voice shine through his work. His commitment to comics journalism, which included traveling to Haiti to bring attention to the plight of its people, is admirable and courageous. His cartoons are hard hitting yet humorous."

The judges also had strong praise for the work of Sorensen. Robb said “Jen Sorensen has a brilliant way of showing the absurdities of ideas and policies that at first glance might seem reasonable. She effectively uses humor to skewer the powerful.”

Ann Telnaes of the The Washington Post was the finalist for the 2010 Herblock Prize, the first year a finalist was named. The finalist receives a $5,000 after-tax cash award. The Herb Block Foundation seeks to further the recognition and support of editorial cartooning.

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