Ben Sargent

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Ben Sargent

Austin American-Statesman

Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Ben Sargent is known to generations of readers for his Austin American-Statesman editorial cartoons. His single-panel “Ben Sargent’s Loon Star State” cartoons currently appear in the Texas Observer print and online magazine. His work is distributed nationally by Universal Press Syndicate.

Sargent, a sixth-generation Texan, was born in Amarillo in 1948 into a newspaper family. After attending Amarillo College, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas in 1970.

He was hired by the Austin American-Statesman in 1974 and retired in 2009. His work history also includes stints with the Amarillo Globe-News, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Long News Service and United Press International. When he retired from the Austin American-Statesman, the Houston Chronicle became the only daily newspaper in Texas that employed a full-time cartoonist.

Sargent won a Pulitzer Prize in Cartooning in 1982 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2001 and 2002. He also received awards from Women in Communications Inc., Common Cause of Texas and Cox Newspapers.

He is member and a former president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. He is the author of two books: Texas Statehouse Blues, published in 1980, and Big Brother Blues, published in 1984.

In a profile published in the January 2005 issue of The Good Life magazine, Sargent stated: “As a newspaper journalist, you’re professionally obligated to be fair, accurate and complete — but we don’t have to be ‘balanced.’ I’m not a pollster. To me, you’re obligated as an opinion journalist to express your views no matter what the politics of the day. If you don’t, then people will say, ‘Why should I read what this guy’s saying? He doesn’t even know where he stands?’ That makes your position as an opinion journalist kind of useless.”