For his perseverance in the face of post-layoff adversity post-layoff, the freelance unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild has made Rick Redfern an honorary member.
Rick was unavailable for comment, but his creator, Garry Trudeau, asked to pass along Rick’s “appreciation for this gesture of support.” A Guild Freelancers press pass is on its way.
A longtime Washington Post investigative reporter, Rick, a central character in Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” strip, was swept out the door in 2008, a victim of the mass layoffs that emptied newsrooms nationwide. Since April, he has been blogging gratis for the Huffington Post, knowing too well a writer can die of exposure.
Trudeau launched “Doonesbury” — and Rick — in 1970. The first editorial cartoonist to win a Pulitzer Prize, Trudeau was recently named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine.
In the strip, Redfern is married to Joanie Caucus, a veteran of the John B. Anderson campaign and former chief of staff to Congresswoman Lacey Davenport. Their son, Jeff, worked for the CIA and in Afghanistan for contractor Jack Overkill. Through social networking, Jeff established himself as the mysterious but fictional anti-Taliban fighter known as the “The Red Rascal.” In April, when the Huffington Post first tapped Rick for an unpaid gig, Jeff advised his father to start a foundation.
Trudeau has been steadily hammering The Huffington Post via Rick Redfern for its cheapskate practices.
The Huffington Post launched more than seven years ago with a business plan that factored in the free contributions of writers. In 2011, shortly after AOL sealed the purchase, and threw in a $4 million annual salary for La Huffington, our Guild Freelancers unit and the national Guild-CWA launched the “Hey Arianna, Can You Spare a Dime?” campaign.
“Rick Redfern stood his ground and we’re all grateful,” said Guild executive director Carl Hall. “The idea that journalists deserve to be paid clearly needs to spread beyond the funny pages.”