Today’s story of Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale getting sprung taking pics of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s property, highlights the skills gap between the British paparazzi and their Canadian counterparts. Poor Daniel was woefully ill-equipped for the job with just a cell-phone camera and a tape-recorder. A heavy telephoto lens would have allowed him to keep a safe distance away and doubled up as body armor in the event of a face-to-face confrontation.
The Star and the Mayor have a notoriously combative relationship, the Mayor has excluded the paper from press releases from his office and refuses to answer questions put by it, effectively freezing it out. Discovering a familiar young reporter scoping out his property was never going to set the scene for a feudal ceasefire.
When the Mayor “cocked his fist near his head and began charging at me at a full run. I began pleading with him, as loud as I could, with my hands up, for him to stop. I yelled, at the top of my lungs, something like, ‘Mayor Ford, I’m writing about the land! I’m just looking at the land!’ ” The terrified reporter dropped his phone and tape recorder and legged it.
Ford told CP24 that Dale was screaming.
“It was like unbelievable what he was doing and I caught the guy cold. It’s unbelievable what he did and I’m not going to put up with it. I’ve got the police here and if I’ve got to press charges I will. It’s pretty emotional. It’s tough on my neighbour. It’s tough on my family.”
Yesterday in the UK, the report by a cross-party parliamentary committee into media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s illegal use of phone-hacking and other underhand tactics to get to a story, stated that he was unfit to run News Corp. Perhaps he might consider transferring his business acumen into developing Paparazzi Correspondence courses. I can think of one young reporter who might be interested…