Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson snags 2 major awards

DAILY NEWS editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson has added two big accolades to her collection.

Yesterday Wilkinson was named grand-prize winner of the 15th World Press Freedom International Editorial Cartoon Competition of cartoonists' responses to the terrorist attack on the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. The competition attracted 300 cartoons from 43 nations.

And last night, the Overseas Press Club of America, at its 76th annual awards ceremony in New York, gave Wilkinson its Thomas Nast Award for international cartooning - an award she won twice before, in 1996 and 2007.

"It's funny in a way, since the Daily News is such a hyper-local paper," Wilkinson said. "We think of Camden as a foreign assignment. But at the same time, Daily News readers have broad interests, and not just Broad Street. They follow the international news and have opinions about it."

Wilkinson, who has been drawing cartoons for the People Paper since 1985, won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1992.

She previously worked as a reporter for the Daily Local News in West Chester, and as a cartoonist for the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.

Her bosses were thrilled yesterday, particularly at the award honoring her winning cartoon in the World Press Freedom competition.

"This is terrific news," said Daily News editor Michael Days. "This means Signe is currently the best editorial cartoonist on the planet. We certainly are happy about this honor, but not surprised."

"Signe's courageous work and her passionate defense for press freedom during the Charlie Hebdo tragedy were extraordinary and reminded us all of the true meaning of world-class journalism," added Stan Wischnowski, vice president for news operations of the company that owns the Daily News.

- John F. Morrison