Journalists as a pack of dogs

Daniel Dale let the pack down by becoming the story. He broke and ran when he was right to stalk Toronto Mayor Rob Ford from public property.

By Frank Touby –

The sad case of Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale and His Worship Mayor Rob Ford whisks me back to the only journalism “professor” I ever had or needed. It was Miss Barbara Garfunkel, who taught that subject in my junior year at Miami Senior High School in 1956. (I hope this doesn’t date me.)

She showed us how to write news stories, headlines, features, cutlines and conduct interviews. You can doom yourself to decades of debt today with university professors who never get around to teaching that stuff because they’re so involved trying to outline courses that run for an entire semester. You’d learn a lot of journalism philosophy, but that’s not much help. Studying some examples of great journalism would be, and you’d no doubt get those too over the often-fruitless years of schooling.

Journalism is a practice, not a philosophy…not much of one anyhow. Tell the truth and tell the story. Make sure before an interview that you know as much as possible about the subject. Write a stunning lead that grabs the reader by the eyeballs and drags him or her into the copy. Do it a lot for a good editor who’ll bail you out when you fall short.

Then you’ll know how to be a journalist and bail out those behind you.

Above all, young reporter, don’t shriek like a girl (unless you are one), throw down your pad, pen and camera and run from a grossly overweight 43-year-old celebrity when you’re on public property. Oh how the craft has faded. Sigh.

Public figures are fair game. Politicians are the fairest game of all. Nasty as it is, you can indeed “stalk” (within a few reasonable confines) any celebrity who’s visible from a public place if you’re trying to write a story or grab a photo. Daniel Dale let the pack down by becoming the story.

That’s pretty much all there is to know about journalism.

Oh, and yes, we’re basically a pack of dogs, which is just exactly how we must be for democracy to prevail over the corporate brainwashers who own too many of the major media and control too much information aimed at serving their own interests. Journalists serve the truth, barking and braying as we do so.