Harris drops F-bomb over eye injury story

It’s part of being a journalist that we’re subjected to a profanity-laced angry call, voicemail or email from time to time.

So I wasn’t all that surprised to get such a call when I came in Friday, the morning we published our story about Vancouver Councilor Jeanne Harris’ $500,000 claim against the city of Ridgefield over an eye injury she sustained. The 53 second call came through at 12:19 a.m.

Give a listen here (WARNING CONTAINS PROFANITY). Also, this is apparently buggy in Google Chrome. Right click and “save as” if you’re having trouble.

For the record, the injury is very real and very serious. I will not, however, make a judgment call on how/where it happened — that’s for the claim process to work out.

Folks several feet away could hear Harris in my headset, berating me for publishing the story before she told me I could.

Harris had a divorce hearing in Cowlitz County today, and didn’t want us to publish before then.

“What a f***ing dumb thing to do,” she shouts.

However, The Columbian’s responsibility is to the public interest, and that includes running a news story as soon as we can. That we would hold news to suit elected officials goes against everything we stand for as an independent watchdog.

The story’s timing was also not a surprise to Harris; she was told on Tuesday and Wednesday that the story would run. We ran it Friday after we received a copy of the actual claim Thursday afternoon.

We chose to link this voicemail because Harris is a public official.

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