Steps taken by Toronto Star to get Mayor Rob Ford’s side of thestory on Thursday May 16 prior to publication of “crack cocaine”video story
The Gawker website published online at 8:28 pm on Thursday May 16 anaccount of how its editor, John Cook, saw the Mayor Ford crack video the previous week. Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke quickly assembled agroup of reporters and editors in the newsroom, including Kevin Donovanand Robyn Doolittle, who had seen the video a month before and had beentrying to obtain the video ever since. During that phase, the Star had promised the source who was trying to sell the video that it would not revealthe source’s identity or the fact that a video existed without permission of the source. The Star was released from that promise that evening. Inaddition, the Star learned that day that the source had attempted to sell thevideo to not only the Star, but Gawker and CNN.Following is a summary of Toronto Star attempts to contact Mayor RobFord that evening to ask him about the video and the attempts by individualsto sell the video. Please note that Mayor Ford and his staff, for more than ayear at that time, had refused to respond to any verbal, emailed or handdelivered letters seeking comment on numerous other stories the Star was preparing.
9:04 pm: Robyn Doolittle both called and sent a text message to Ford’s chief of Staff Mark Towhey and press secretary George Christopolous askingthem to comment on allegation that Mayor Ford was videotaped smokingcrack and that people were trying to sell a video of this. Neither responded.9:15-10 pm: Kevin Donovan called Ford’s city hall line and his home lineseveral times. There was no answer. Messages left for Ford asked him tocomment on the Gawker story and also informed him that Star reporters hadseen the video and requested comment on that. Donovan also called GeorgeChristopolous, press secretary. Christopolous did not respond to requests for comment.