Students in Mr. Kevin Hogendorp’s Modern World History Class cover a variety of topics in their study of different nations. But Wednesday’s special presentation offered them a different spin on examining political and economic issues of the day: editorial cartoons.
They learned about the medium from one of the experts: Scott Stantis, political cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune since 2009, whose work appears weekly in the USA Today, and is syndicated to more than 400 newspapers across the country. He described his craft to the students and about how political cartoons have endured and connected with readers, even as the journalism industry has changed.
Stantis also described just how much goes into creating his cartoons. For starters, Stantis works closely with the Tribune’s editorial board to reflect the paper’s opinions on issues. As it is, he said nearly 70 percent of his work is local, or about Chicago politics, and one of his most recurring subjects is Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He even showed students how he draws the Chicago mayor.
A slide show took students through his body of work since joining the Tribune. They ranged from one in 2009, when Chicago lost the Olympic bid, and the most recent one was of a child sick with measles, blaming Jenny McCarthy, who opposes vaccination.
Mostly, Stantis wanted to impress on students his vision of editorial cartooning, that it is not just entertainment but he hopes to stir reactions from readers. He hopes they find his work provocative and ultimately a catalyst for change.
The famed cartoonist’s visit drew Assistant Principal Mary Lee DeBelina to drop in on the visit. She pointed to his presentation as another example of excellence in education at Saint Viator, where students are exposed to a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.