The Times gave retiring Post columnist Steve Dunleavy a sendoff on the front of the business section this morning. The story included this great quote from Pete Hamill, the hard-drinking journalist's competitor at the Daily News: "I always thought he was writing his columns like he was double-parked. He was a tabloid guy in every fiber of his body." Dunleavy also set the record straight about that time he knifed his own father's car in service of a scoop. Luckily, the awesome story is still mostly true:
[The story] goes like this: As a young copyboy in Australia 55 years ago, Mr. Dunleavy was so hungry for a story that he popped the tires of his father’s car at a murder scene. His father, a photographer at a rival paper, could not get to the post office to transmit photos, and Mr. Dunleavy, then about 15 years old, earned his paper a big scoop.
That is how Mr. Murdoch remembers it.
Mr. Dunleavy tells a different version. Yes, he punctured the tires of a car, but it was owned by his father’s newspaper and he did not know his dad was there. And it was not a murder but the story of a group of missing hikers.
“That story gets told and told, and each time it gets a little bit more whiskers on it,” Mr. Dunleavy said.
Missing hikers, murder, accident, whatever: The point is Dunleavy pushed past his own dad to get a story. Those are some great competitive instincts.
As a bonus, the story helps alleviate any lingering guilt among those of us who, say, woke up early to snatch a tape recorder out of our girlfriend's car for similar purposes.