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Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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The Rural We: Chan Lowe

Chan Lowe, a syndicated editorial cartoonist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other papers, has recently joined the staff of the Berkshire Eagle. He spent 33 years at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The fact that he is now sharing his talent and skills as the deputy editorial page editor is a coup for the paper and for the community, considering that there are only about 45 cartoonists remaining at papers nationwide, and he’s one of the best. But it’s the icing on the cake for the Williams alum, who always wanted to move back to the Berkshires.

I am so thrilled to be working for the Eagle. What I do has more of an impact here. As an example, I was part of a small contingent from the Eagle who marched in the 4th of July parade in Pittsfield, and as we walked past people, they were applauding us. They got real exited because we were representing their hometown paper. I never got that when working with a paper that had a circulation of 400,000 on Sundays. There, the paper was just another institution. There may be fewer people here, but what we do matters a lot more.

Lowe in Pittsfield’s 4th of July parade. Photo by Gillian Jones — The Berkshire Eagle.

Everyone thinks I was hired to be a cartoonist, but I was actually hired to be deputy page editor. I write editorials, as a member of a two-person team on behalf of the publisher and owners, to articulate a regional point of view. I produce a local cartoon for the Eagle once a week. I’ve done two so far, one on Berkshire County arts funding, the other on the Eversource rate hike. My job is to observe the issues, synthesize them, and filter things back to the readers.

The entire newspaper industry has the Eagle under the spotlight because of what the new owners are doing. It’s so refreshing to be working for a newspaper where morale is high. New faces keep showing up. It helps to have a wholly-owned company. No one’s saying “where’s the return on my investment?” The owners can afford to take the long view. I’m really impressed with their commitment and the quality of the changes they’re making.

What do I want to do here outside of work? It’s hard to know where to start! I’ve already been to Tanglewood twice, and I’ve been to the Clark — I used to go there for art research when I was a student. I play the flute and hope to get involved in a chamber music group. I’m a woodworker, and the house we have under contract has a nice space for a workshop/man cave. I love designing and building furniture.

You didn’t have to convince me to move here. When this job became available, it wasn’t just perfectly aligned with my skill sets, it was where I was planning to retire. My wife was educated in Western Mass. and we’ve always loved this area. We’re a couple that belongs here.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 07/12/17 at 09:05 PM • Permalink