Globe and Mail Investigative Journalist and #1 Bestselling Author of Crazy Town
Robyn Doolittle is a former Star city hall reporter and now Globe and Mail investigative reporter. In addition to her reporting, she has appeared on CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and elsewhere. Her book, Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, released in early 2014, debuted at #1 on the Globe and Mail and Amazon.ca bestseller lists, and the film rights were immediately optioned. Doolittle was also awarded the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Crazy Town.
The Rob Ford story is arguably one of the most popular Canadian news stories ever: full of violence, drugs, alcohol, sweeping police investigations, a media circus, a city divided, and, at its core, a seemingly untouchable populist mayor. Doolittle helped break the scandal, and she continues to tell us what, exactly, is going on in North America's fourth largest city—and across the nation.
A Country Divided: Why Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Governments Need to Come Together
Downtown vs. the suburbs. Toronto vs. Calgary. Cities vs. rural Canada. Does it really have to be this way? In this talk, Robyn Doolittle explores these perceived divisions, and why they should be broken down. She examines the relationships between municipal, provincial, and federal governments, and how the complicated dynamics around the collection and distribution of government money affect us all. Should people in cities be taxed more, because they use more services? Who should pay for public transit, tax breaks for farmers, or new hockey arenas? What’s “fair,” and what’s just politics? Doolittle describes her vision for the future of our country: one in which citizens, government, and the media work together to make real, substantial change. She provides a roadmap for transparency, engagement, and communication. And, she offers a measured perspective on what to do when things go off the rails, while reminding us that it’s our job—whether we’re citizens, journalists, or elected officials—to ensure that our country is the best possible places to live.
Women at Work: Saying No to Photocopying and Other Important Lessons from the Newsroom
Women at work have come a long way. But some environments—such as police stations, political arenas, and newsrooms—are still very male-dominated. In this talk, Robyn Doolittle examines the pressures facing women today. She explores why traits that are praised in men are still negatively perceived in women: too “aggressive,” too “ambitious,” too “Hollywood.” And, she explores the power of the personal brand—how we need to be more aware than ever of who we are, how people view us, and how our lives are documented and portrayed online. An intelligent, graceful speaker, Doolittle uses her own personal story—and the challenges she faced reporting on Toronto’s most controversial news story in decades—as the backbone for this essential keynote.
Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story
His drug and alcohol-fuelled antics made world headlines and engulfed a city in unprecedented controversy. Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s personal and political troubles have occupied centre stage in North America’s fourth-largest city since news broke that drug dealers were selling a videotape of Ford appearing to smoke crack cocaine.
Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle was one of three journalists to view the video and report on its contents in May 2013. Her dogged pursuit of the story has uncovered disturbing details about the mayor’s past, and embroiled the Toronto police, city councillors, and ordinary citizens in a raucous debate about the future of the city.
Even before those explosive events, Ford was a divisive figure. A populist and successful city councillor, he was an underdog to become mayor in 2010. His politics and mercurial nature have split the amalgamated city in two.
But there is far more to the story. The Ford family has a long, unhappy history of substance abuse and criminal behaviour. Despite their troubles, they are also one of the most ambitious families in Canada. Those close to the Fords say they often compare themselves to the Kennedys and believe they were born to lead. Doolittle says that regardless of whether the mayor survives the current crack-cocaine scandal, the Ford name will be on the ballot in the mayoralty election in 2014.
Fast paced and insightful, Crazy Town is a page-turning portrait of a troubled man, a formidable family, and a city caught in an astonishing scandal.
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