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Robyn Doolittle's Success Is Refreshing For Journalism Students

03/11/2014 02:04 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT

There has been quite a bit of backlash lately surrounding journalist Robyn Doolittle's apparent celebrity status since the release of her new book Crazy Town.

Through her diligent and thorough reporting, Doolittle provides readers with a detailed portrait of Rob Ford's life from his upbringing in a driven yet dysfunctional family to his volatile career as Toronto's infamous mayor.

One particular article published in Huffington Post Canada earlier this month highlighted the criticism of Doolittle's success.

Jennifer Hough, production editor and freelance journalist says that Doolittle's success is misrepresenting the experience of a "real-life" journalist by glamorizing the challenges faced by everyday reporters trying to earn a buck.

Hough also says she worries that Doolittle's fame will cause young people to believe they want to be hard-hitting journalists, only to realize the job is much more strenuous than Doolittle makes it appear.

"Seriously though, and more importantly, I worry that you are single-handedly recruiting a whole generation of aspiring wannabes." -Hough

Recently, Doolittle was interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper, and has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Late Night with Seth Meyers. She also posed for Flare Magazine, sitting on top of a pile of newspapers looking professional and oh so fierce. Though, this isn't what many critics said when they first saw the photo.

One has to question whether or not Doolittle's pretty face and suave style could be part of the reason for the scrutiny. In a recent interview published in Poynter, Doolittle said she received a handful of e-mails the morning after her photo shoot from powerful women in Toronto who said that the photo might discredit her work.

The truth is, women are hard on other women who succeed.

I must disclose I'm a master of journalism student at Carleton University, so this topic is of particular interest to me. Contrary to her critics, I find Doolittle's recent success thoroughly refreshing. Her efforts to dig to the bottom of the Rob Ford scandal have led to the unveiling of one of the world's biggest stories of 2013.

She put herself in danger, risked losing her job, and immersed herself in the centre of chaos all because of her desire to tell a story the rest of the world was unaware of. The outcome of that kind of work ethic: a remarkable story and a distinguished reputation as a reporter.

Let me enlighten readers of one of j-school's most commonly used narratives: you are going to have a very hard time finding a job; you will make very little money; and few will appreciate your work.

Frankly, I'm tired of this deflating outlook on journalism and I know many of my fellow aspiring journalists are as well. Trust me, I understand the business model of journalism is shifting; reporters are losing jobs and can't find work elsewhere. The current landscape of the industry makes it difficult to climb the ladder of success.

It's for all of those real and rather depressing reasons that we should appreciate when a fellow struggling reporter garners some well-deserved praise, makes some hard-earned cash, and becomes somewhat of a Canadian celebrity. Why not have a symbol of success to aspire to?

So Hough, I urge you to refrain from criticizing someone who knows how it feels to struggle to get her own words printed in a newspaper. Instead, commend her for her work and recognize that she is turning the stereotype of the struggling journalist on its head.