It's been kind of sad at The Detroit News lately as the paper slowly sheds staffers and forces others to take new jobs they don't want.
A few weeks ago, the award-winning Henry Payne was relieved of his duties as editorial cartoonist. He remained on the paper’s staff as a writer for the editorial page. And he will continue drawing cartoons on national and international issues for the United Feature Syndicate, and some of those cartoons will appear in the News.
But Payne now has a new job -- auto critic. Yes, auto critic. Read the memo from Business Editor Joanna Firestone:
I'm glad to let you know that Henry Payne will become our auto critic, succeeding Doug Guthrie (Editor's note: Guthrie died of natural causes last month.)
Henry joins The News’ auto team from the editorial department, where he has worn many hats from cartoonist to editorial writer to columnist to editor of the Politics blog and MichiganView.com.
Now, Henry will marry his writing skills with his passion for cars. An amateur racer of sports cars –- see the attached photo in which his Lola bears The Detroit News logo -- you didn't want to get between Henry and Doug when they were comparing notes.
Henry has assisted our coverage for 14 Detroit auto shows as a writer and "Car-toon" author. And for two decades, he has contributed articles on the industry for The Wall Street Journal, Scripps Howard News Service, The New York Post, and other publications.
Henry came to The News in 1999, after 13 years as a writer, editorial cartoonist and editor for Scripps Howard in Washington, D.C. He has published three books including “Payne & Ink: The Cartoons and Commentary of Henry Payne, 2000-2001,” in 2002. He illustrated two children's books published by Random House: “Where did Daddy’s Hair Go?” (by Joe O’Connor) in 2006, and Dr. Seuss’ “The Ear Book” in 2007. He also has published a comic strip.
Born in Charleston, W.Va., Henry graduated with a degree in history from Princeton University in 1984 and began his newspaper career at the Charleston Daily Mail. He is an active race car driver and tennis player. He and his wife, Talbot, live in Bloomfield Hills. They have two boys.