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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Lesson: Keep tabs on your phone?

As a reporter, I often use a small recording device – these days, my iPhone – to record events like press conferences so I can later double-check my notes. So on Monday when I went to Gov. Butch Otter’s press conference in his office after his State of the State address, I set my phone to record and set it up on the mantelpiece. Then I went up front to take pictures and ask questions, moved around the room to take some pictures from different angles, later sat down in back, and then when the press conference concluded, went back to my desk in the Capitol press room. An hour later, I reached for my phone – and I didn’t have it. I was at a loss, until I realized I’d left it in the governor’s office.

I went flying up there – the door was open. But the phone was gone. I was directed to Otter’s press secretary, Jon Hanian, who had my phone. Here’s the awful part: After the press conference, the governor had had a private meeting with the Senate pro tem in his office. And at the end of that, he’d found my phone, still recording. He was none too pleased. I apologized up and down and volunteered to delete the whole file on the spot with Hanian looking on, which I did. Later, at the governor’s reception with lawmakers in his office, Otter teased me about the incident, joking that he didn’t think it could have been mine because I couldn’t reach up that high (I’m on the short side – 5’1”).

I shared this story with an appreciative group before the City Club of Boise session today, but didn't have time to tell it during the panel discussion itself. I honestly didn’t try to plant a bug in the governor’s office! I prefer more conventional reporting methods, which have long served me well; I’ll plan to stick to them.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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