U alumnus wins Pulitzer

Former Minnesota Daily cartoonist Kevin Siers won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday.

Minnesota Daily alumnus Kevin Siers, now of the Charlotte Observer, won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for editorial cartooning. As a Daily cartoonist in the 1980s, he drew a variety of poliltical cartoons like this one, about then-Gov. Al Quie.

Minnesota Daily alumnus Kevin Siers, now of the Charlotte Observer, won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for editorial cartooning. As a Daily cartoonist in the 1980s, he drew a variety of poliltical cartoons like this one, about then-Gov. Al Quie.

Anne Millerbernd

A former Minnesota Daily cartoonist and University of Minnesota alumnus was awarded journalism’s highest honor Monday.

Kevin Siers, 59, received a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartoons on national hot-button topics ranging from gun control to health care.

He works for the Charlotte Observer newspaper in North Carolina, and hundreds of publications syndicate his cartoons nationwide.

Siers attended the University in the 1980s and worked as a cartoonist at the Daily for six years, winning national awards for his work. His cartoons frequently poked fun at political topics, including former President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, using a satirical style that he maintains today.

“He uses humor and satire effectively to make his point, and the originality really stands out,” said Steve Sack, the Star Tribune’s 2013 Pulitzer-winning cartoonist.

Sack has been a longtime mentor and friend of Siers — the two met while working at the Daily. He said Siers’ distinct drawing style and strong views make him a top cartoonist and the ideal candidate for a Pulitzer.

But Siers is also a great journalist, said his editor at the Observer, Taylor Batten.

“He’s not just drawing a funny picture about something,” Batten said. “He is becoming an expert on whatever he is drawing about.”

Although Siers’ Pulitzer-winning portfolio focused on national issues, some of his more popular drawings at the Observer jab at local and state officials.

In Batten’s letter to the Pulitzer judges, he wrote that North Carolina legislators and governors open the editorial section with a “touch of dread”
each morning.

Siers’ cartoons aren’t just well-known in his state. His work is distributed to more than 400 newspapers nationwide, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today. But Batten said that Siers would never boast about that.

Though his pieces are loud and punchy, Siers is known as one of the most low-key employees at the Observer, where he’s worked for more than two decades.

“He kind of has an influential voice for a guy who’s so quiet personally,” Batten said.

Siers is the third Observer cartoonist to win a Pulitzer, an award his editor said was overdue.

“We’ve long thought that he was among the best in the nation,” Batten said, “and so we’re just gratified that the Pulitzer committee now recognizes that as well.”