By Carson McKinney
An award-winning journalist will be teaching a class in cartooning at Ole Miss in the fall.
Marshall Ramsey is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, editorial cartoonist and editor-at-large at Mississippi Today. When his pair of illustrations published in the Clarion-Ledger memorializing the passing of Barbara and George H.W. Bush went viral in 2018, Assistant Dean and Professor Debora Wenger says Ole Miss’s School of Journalism and New Media took notice.
“When I saw that Marshall’s cartoon had captured the attention of the nation, I thought ‘This is a man who is a good friend of our school, he’s been a Pulitzer finalist multiple times, he’s an amazing speaker and teacher, why have we not had him on campus teaching a class before?’” Wenger said.
The course Ramsey will be instructing, Journalism 361: Editorial Cartooning, will be taught in the fall 2019-2020 semester on Mondays from 4-6:30 p.m. The coursework will consist of discussions, marketing advice and weekly drawings based on current events. Since fall is an election season, Ramsey will invite politicians, candidates and other newsmakers to speak in-class and provide material for students of all skill levels to draw.
“You don’t need to be a fine artist to come in (to the class),” Ramsey said.
He says a good editorial cartoon is 85 percent idea.
“You have to have humor that everyone can relate to, and you have to be on top of the issues to know what’s going on. But, truly, a great editorial cartoon has a great idea behind it,” Ramsey said. “There are ideas that just sometimes speak to people, and that’s when you know you’ve succeeded in creating something.”
There are no pre-requirements for the class, and students from all majors with passions in storytelling through visual mediums are encouraged to attend.
“I hope that the chance to work with a Pulitzer-nominated cartoonist and amazing artist will intrigue students beyond journalism to see some of the creative classes we offer,” Wenger said.
Although many newsrooms across the country are cutting editorial cartoons to save money, Ramsey says cartoons are not going anywhere and are increasingly relevant in a visual-based, social-media savvy society.
“Editorial cartoons get a lot of information across very quickly,” Ramsey said. “They truly are made for these times.”
It did not take much to convince Ramsey to teach at Ole Miss, as he says the “gorgeous campus,” “many friends” and students in Oxford make it worth it.
“It recharges me because it’s fun to be around the students and their energy,” Ramsey said. “It makes me not get stagnant. I enjoy any chance I can to come up to Oxford and be able to contribute a little bit of my talent.”