If I take a video of Robert Pattinson arriving at Vancouver International Airport, does that make me a paparazzi?

When I ask myself that question, I can’t help but bring myself back to the argument over whether bloggers are journalists.

Yesterday, while I was covering the Twilight cast’s arrival, I managed to take the above video. I don’t lug my diaper bag of a purse around for nothing: on any given day where I’m out reporting, I never leave without my Flip Mino HD, my recorder, my point and shoot camera and my notebook.

So when I spotted the pale, hunky, stud of a vampire, it  only made sense to whip out my Flip and record R-Pattz walking through YVR. A journalist’s first reaction, right?

After I took the video, I remember someone commenting that I’ve graduated from reporter to paparazzi. “No, I was just reporting,” I replied. I am a multimedia journalist after all. But when does journalism cross the line into being paparazzi?

I think it’s the same as my argument for bloggers and journalism. I don’t believe bloggers should be considered journalists, unless they’ve got equal or greater experience than a “professional” journalist. Journalism is a trained occupation, whether that training is through internships or work experience or schooling. And contrary to what some paparazzi boo-ers believe, paparazzi-ism is the same. Sure, the average person can take a blurry, rule-of-third-less photo of Tom Cruise. But unless you 1) are a trained photographer or have put decent time in to hone your celebrity photography skills 2) have worked a few years in the profession in order to build reliable sources (that whole process is hell, believe me) I’m inclined to say you’re not a paparazzi.

What a fascinating discussion.

Michael Nyqvist, the star of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo series, arrived back in Vancouver Sunday night for Mission: Impossible 4, which is currently filming in and around town.

One of my paparazzi friends was shooting him, and asked if I could get him an autograph while he took pictures.

“OMGSUREILOVEMICHAELNYQVIST!” I obliged.

When I asked Nyqvist for an autograph, he looked at me with his sexy man eyes and smiled. He was so sweet.

“Sure,” he said.

He looked down at the photo. It was a picture of him from The Girl Who Played With Fire. It depicted the scene at the end of the film where he tends to a bloodied, muddied and beaten Lisbeth Salander. It wasn’t a pretty picture. It was nasty, really.

He looked up at me.

He looked back down at the photo.

He looked at me again.

Those sexy man eyes were judging my character.

“Gross,” he said, as he signed over the fleshy mess of blood and mud.

Once something’s released into the Interwebs, there’s no telling where it’ll end up. Or how fast.

Yesterday, I had a chance to meet Mackenzie Foy, a newcomer to The Twilight Saga. She plays Renesmee, the daughter of Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). I asked the 10-year-old cutie to sign my book, and she did. Foy is such a poised, enthusiastic and composed 10-year-old. It looks like she’s handled this whole superstardom quite well.

Anyway, I tweeted a picture of the autograph afterwards. Within minutes, I had a slew of new Twitter followers and 60 or so retweets/replies. But most impressive was how fast the photo ended up on Twilight fan sites. You would’ve thought it was a Pamela Anderson sex tape!

Thus concludes my first time experiencing the wildfire effect of anything and everything Twilight.

Duct tape is great.

Back in undergrad, when I did a lot of backcountry camping, I was told to carry duct tape in my pack. Aside from temporarily gluing together broken tent poles, duct tape is a lifesaver when your hiking boots make your feet blister.

I’ve taken this advice to heart on a daily basis. Gnarly heels got you biting your expensive Dior lipstick off? Yes, there is cheap Canadian Tire cure for the pains of beauty.

Duct tape came in handy when I was covering Reese Witherspoon. It kept my feet protected during a time of intense investigation.

I bought myself some awesome boots—the kind that look like workboots, but are pretty and polished—so that I’d look spiffy reporting on Miss Legally Blonde. However, these boots gave me huge water balloons on my heels. I could barely walk two blocks, let alone chase a Hollywood actress around town.

Out came the duct tape.

“Sooo much better!” I grinned to myself, proud of my clever little trick. I was insulated from any pain or unnecessary chafing, which would allow me to go forth into the downtown Vancouver and gather juicy berries for my overlords.

Reporting on Reese was difficult. She rarely went out, and whenever she was on set, she’d  cover her face from the paparazzi. She usually did this by pulling down the monsterous hood from her black puffy jacket. That hood was kind of like her duct tape.

One weekend, I browsed some photos of Reese caught out in L.A. with her kids. Her son, Deacon, injured his foot. He was hobbling along on crutches, but after seeing her son struggle to make any ground, she picked him up and carried him to dinner.

She waddled along with the her little man in her arms, his body nearly the same size as her petite frame. She clasped  her hands around Deacon’s waist as he hung on to his mother’s neck. Reese didn’t have a big hood to pull down. Nor did she have hands to cover her face. She knew the paparazzi were there, but some things were more important than herself.

I will never forget the look on Reese’s face. It was one of sacrifice, of love.

I can’t describe what I felt staring at that photo. It was a potent mixture of heartbreak, sympathy and guilt. And there I was, worried about blisters on my heels.

I reached down and picked at the sticky edges of that grey second skin, and ripped it all off.

Photo by Kevin Dooley, Flickr

As a journalist, you don’t always get to write about everything you see, hear or ingest.

This blog will be dedicated to telling the stories behind my stories, exploring topics outside of my beat, and simply musing about day-t0-day experiences.

Please feel free to visit The Indie Files, my blog devoted to Canadian independent music, as well as The Pop Culture Files, my Tumblr site for all the neat stuff kids are talking about these days.

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