Q&A: Robyn Doolittle, the Star’s Ford-stalking, video-watching, hate mail–receiving journalist du jour
You were a little-known reporter covering the municipal beat. Then the mayor does crack—or not—you watch a video and you’re international news. How else has Crackgate changed your life?
I’ve been stopped on the street a lot, especially near my condo in Parkdale. I was getting my hair cut and Doug Ford was giving a press conference, and my hairdresser looked at the TV, then at me and said, “Hey, aren’t you the one who saw the crack video?”
Your cell number is easily found online. Has Ford Nation been in touch?
Oh, yes. Their preferred methods are Twitter and email, but I get a couple of angry calls a day and sometimes in the middle of the night. I have to answer every one because it could be a source.
What’s the most venomous feedback you’ve received?
“You’d better watch out” or “We’re coming for you.” I got a letter written in the most beautiful cursive on stationery that had cardinals on it. It said something like, “How do you sleep at night? You’re scum.” That was pretty special. It’s the guys who call me a slut who irritate me. I’d love for them to say that in person.
Who do you lean on for support?
My Pomeranians, Mozart and Chester. They never give me any sass. Mozart is majestic and snobby, and Chester is obese and hilarious. He just rams into things, like a tiny fluffy rhinoceros.
What advice did your parents give you about the whole Crackgate ordeal?
They’re always supportive, but my dad often tells me that I’m picking on the mayor. They live in Forest, Ontario, but if they lived in Toronto, my dad probably would’ve voted for Ford in 2010. My mom would’ve voted for Smitherman, so they balance each other out.
Was being a reporter always the dream?
No. I wanted to be in musical theatre. I used to sing while running around the lake in Forest. But one day I was belting it out to Whitney Houston and realized that I’m not a good singer. So I went into journalism instead.
I was always questioning authority—my parents, teachers, everyone. When I realized there was a career where you get paid to challenge people, I was like, sign me up!
What was the first step?
At 16, I walked into the newsroom at the Sarnia Observer and told the editor that I wanted a job. For some reason, he gave me one. I wrote a regular column mostly about how teenagers get no respect. I also wrote a scathing takedown of Britney Spears, but I was just trying to be contrarian, because I really like Britney Spears. Then I went to Ryerson for journalism, edited the student newspaper and got hired as an intern at the Star.
How did you turn it into a staff position?
The Star sent me to Chicago just as the Conrad Black trial was wrapping up, to try to get a juror to talk to me about the verdict. But the court officers snuck the jurors out the back, leaving us reporters hanging, so I looked up one of the jurors in the phone book and cabbed out to this sketchy part of town and sat on her porch until 3 a.m. I looked all of 15, so when she got there, she was like, “I can’t believe you’re here, you poor thing.” She gave me a great interview.
A lot of people think you and the Star have it in for Ford.
We absolutely don’t. I went hard after Councillor Ana Bailão’s drunk-driving charges, the lobbyists’ registry and staff’s efforts to keep the crumbling Gardiner a secret. I cover city hall, not the mayor.
Can you compliment Ford?
He’s an unbelievable campaigner, and he phones people right back, which is empowering for voters. I think he’ll probably get re-elected. Anyone who discounts him is foolish.
You viewed the crack video in a car with the accomplice of a drug dealer late at night. Did you ever have second thoughts?
I did think, “If this goes bad, what’s my exit strategy?”
What was your exit strategy?
I didn’t have one.
Have you gotten job offers from other news outlets since this story broke?
No. I love my job at the Star, though it does leave little time for much else. When I get off work around 7 p.m., I’ll try to get to yoga or have a drink with a friend, but usually I just go home and tell Mozart and Chester about my day. You wouldn’t believe how much city hall gossip they know.
20 thoughts on “Q&A: Robyn Doolittle, the Star’s Ford-stalking, video-watching, hate mail–receiving journalist du jour”
The video is probably true- we are stuck with a Mayor who can’t face reality. People fell for a slogan.
This small town hick is way out of her depth.
Sorry to be “that guy” but Robyn you are beautiful.
Aren’t reporters just suppose to repeat the Fords news releases without question? Asking questions if very unprofessional. The Fords are above being questioned by anyone. They’re royalty.
It is very irresponsible reporting to manufacture such a damning story about Mayor Ford without ever obtaining the video proof or any other corroborating evidence or credible witnesses. Didn’t Ryerson teach you about journalistic integrity, defamation or slander? So far you and the Star have been lucky. But it’s probably just a matter of time before you’re both sued. Try some due diligence in future and stop harassing the Fords, their family and friends at home, if you want to earn the public’s respect, or just leave “dirty politics” to the CBC. Most people are on to your superficial schemes now, since the alleged video never surfaced despite the $200,000 cash offered. What did you think you would accomplish by snooping around the Ford’s condo in the U.S. this month? Harassing retired residents for some “dirt” on the Fords is a new low, even for you. This kind of gutter journalism makes you lose any credibility you may have had. And seeing your true colours, you are not looking so good anymore. BTW, what have YOU been smoking? Maybe someone should be investigating you!! “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” ~ Buddha
That’s right, just keep your head in the sand. I for one am glad someone is keeping tabs on the Mayor.
It’s rare to see a reporter who does the digging and keeps tabs on those in power, so good on her for doing so. And to those who are Rob Ford sycophants: The guy is his own worst enemy and he will ultimately make you sorry you supported him so blindly.
Hindsight, and a few months, are a fascinating thing eh? Here we are, October 31 and you seem to have been proven to be utterly full of it.
And yet only 6 days after this..who is full of it now?
Well buffoon – your mayor is a crack smoker, case closed.
I guess you lost that bet you hick
FAIL!!! LOl…all that writing and come up empty.
I watch you the first time at AC 360, Wednesday night and you are flawless in your answer and put in the right words, I watch Christiane Amanpour engaging you on the topic and she was not blinking an eye and looking at you intently, admiring your gesture and answer.
Doolittle is little more than a tool for this city’s Zionist-Jewish mafia…I would bet that, if she has a little more going for her than appears based on this very poorly written/researched book, Doolittle is probably figuring that out even now. But she does have to pay for that condo in Parkdale, and her two Pomeranians can’t feed themselves, unfortunately. And they always get you like that…but then, they do seek out the narcissistic ‘liberal’ types; finely tuned indoctrinates that they are, they are perfect prey for this type of dirty political underhandedness…
She is. And she will completely agree sometime down the road…
You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about…
No…your someone likely paid to propagate BS on sites like this…you’re probably from the Sarah Thompson or Stinz election trope…oh how easy it is to see right through this pathetic charade against Ford…all because he couldn’t deliver Sheldon Adelson’s Israeli supporting Casino in Toronto…such a shame…
I see you can’t reference Toronto’s Zionist -Jewish mafia and their exploitation of a young, eager Journalist desperate to make her mark( and pay her rent ) without it being censored by the editors of this propaganda site..pathetic. But i don’t expect much more from these people…neither should you.,.
Don’t leave me hanging, Kreskin. Tell me more.
smart and beautiful. Very convincing interview. Obviously Ford is the author of his own downfall. He handed the Star all those stories. Impressive Ms. Doolittle.
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