PEASE AWARD FOR 2015 HONORS LEGENDARY EDITORIAL CARTOONIST
Salt Lake City’s irreverent, incendiary and irascible cartoonist in chief, Pat Bagley, has been named the 2015 winner of the Ted Pease Award.
Alternatively called “the Rusty Spike,” and “the Pease Award for Curmudgeonly Service to Journalism,” the award is an annual honor presented to a person who has put their journalistic duties well ahead of any notions of being admired, adored or adulated. The trophy — nothing more than a rusty old railroad spike — will be presented to Bagley by the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University in the spring.
“Pat Bagley is a nutcake,” said the award’s namesake and first recipient, who is also the emeritus member of a selection committee made up of faculty, students and alumni. “He’s a man with a death wish. He’s fearless, eloquent, passionate and compassionate. And he doesn't give a damn who knows it.”
Pease emphasized Bagley’s “feeling for the important issues of the day, both locally and globally,” which make the long-time cartoonist for The Salt Lake Tribune “a much-needed voice of reason and conscience in Utah. Lord knows we need it!”
The son of Mormon leaders and graduate of a university owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bagley has evolved over his career into one of the most prominent critics of local religious and political leaders, tackling issues that torment his state and nation, from same-sex marriage to women in the LDS church to the powerful Utah GOP.
“These days, Pat Bagley is known as a left-leaning editorial voice, but there aren’t too many powerful people from any part of the political spectrum who have been spared his wrath over the years,” said Matthew LaPlante, an assistant professor of journalism at Utah State University and former colleague of Bagley’s at The Tribune. “And although the idea of being immortalized in a Bagley cartoon is truly tantalizing, I don’t know anyone who would want to feel his wrath.”
Bagley is the third Pease Award recipient. In 2014, fellow Tribune veteran Tim Fitzpatrick received the award. Pease was the honoree in 2013.
Even before learning he would be honored with the award, Bagley agreed to speak at Utah State University as part of the Morris Media & Society Lecture series. The date for that lecture will be announced at the start of Utah State’s spring semester.