subjects of our stories
Ford and Izzy Dave Barber
FLINT JOURNAL FILES / BECKY SHINK
Gabrielle Ford of Fenton with her dog, Izzy. Both received
donations and support after The Journal printed their story.
prompts outpouring of care
A Fenton family discovered the power of the
press and the charity of Flint Journal readers when the paper chronicled
the story of Gabrielle �Gabe� Ford and her dog, Izzy.
The coon hound is best friend to Gabe, 20, who suffers from a rare
and fatal genetic neuromuscular disorder for which there is no treatment
With the family already living under the financial strain of caring
for Gabe, extra cash to pay for the reverse bypass surgery Izzy
needed just seemed impossible.
Rhonda Hillman, Gabe�s mother, said she contacted the paper in hopes
of getting publicity for a fund-raiser for Izzy.
was very surprised to see such a large article,� Hillman said. �(After
the article was published) we received a couple of phone calls from
people who wanted to come over and visit. They gave donations to
Gabrielle to help pay (Izzy�s) veterinarian bills. There were enough
funds due to (the) article to cover all of Izzy�s expenses. Gabe
paid all three veterinarians.
helped her realize what a great community she has, how caring people
are. She�s hoping one day she can help her community, as well.�
The article also caught the attention of The Associated Press, which
put the story out nationwide, and Animal Planet, which will air
a segment on Gabe and Izzy later this month. It even reached such
high-profile celebrities as singer Sarah McLachlan, who sent Gabe
an autographed photo.
can�t say enough about (writer) Kim Crawford. Without the article
I don�t think Gabe would be doing as well as she is now, and Izzy
is just a complete miracle,� Hillman said.
�No such thing as bad publicity�
before Dave Barber hit the airwaves as a talk show host in 1976,
he had a place in the headlines of The Flint Journal.
won the state forensics championship for radio broadcasting in 1973,�
said Barber, who now is on the air at WTRZ-AM (1330). �I�m also
a former route carrier. I grew up with The Journal.�
From his jobs as a popular local DJ to his legal battle with Flint
Mayor Woodrow Stanley, the newspaper has followed his exploits,
beginning Barber�s love-hate relationship with the paper.
report things that are not flattering, but if they�re accurate,
they�re just doing their job,� Barber said. �Overall, my coverage,
good and bad coverage, has been fair. I read the paper, I understand
the dynamics. If you�re gonna take the accolade, you gotta take
the criticism, too.�
The Journal followed the Barber story when his radio voice was silenced
in July after he allegedly harassed a female employee.
The state attorney general�s office ruled out criminal charges in
the assault complaint.
no such thing as bad publicity,� he said. �Just spell my name right.
I think The Journal�s been pretty fair.�
Barber often uses Journal news stories as the basis of topics on
his radio talk show.
think I was the best friend The Journal had,� Barber said. �I quoted
you every day.�
On the flip side, Barber has been quick to take The Journal to task.
you�re gonna dish it out, you gotta take it,� he said. �My only
beef is, sometimes I think they�ve been hypocritical in covering
themselves � not very accurate or fair when covering themselves
when they�re in the spotlight.�