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Out Here: That click? It wasn't a recorder

Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 2:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9:42 p.m. CDT

Donald Sterling's downward spiral continues as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers because of offensive racist comments, captured in a secret recording.

Until recently in Illinois, you couldn't record someone in a private conversation without that person's knowledge. That is still the law in California, where Sterling's conversation with the woman presumably took place.

Last week, I was on the phone with a man who tried to make the case that our coverage of Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn was unfair. Mid-conversation, he asked me whether I was recording the conversation.

I told him no.

"I heard a click," he said.

Then I told him what I have told others: I have never recorded a conversation secretly. At the beginning of my career, I used a recorder a few times at public meetings. But I quit because it was a hassle.

At one time, I worked with a reporter who regularly recorded interviews without sources' knowledge, in a state where doing so was legal.

Once, it really helped him. A source said my co-worker had misquoted him. But he played back a recording to me showing that he quoted the source accurately. Still, he refrained from presenting this proof to the source. I guess he thought it seemed underhanded.

If you're talking with me and you hear a click, it's not a recorder.

Ogle sheriff's page down

The other day, a reader emailed me, asking why the Ogle County Sheriff's Department hadn't updated its Facebook page. My co-worker, Matt Mencarini, recently reported that the agency's last post was March 13, 5 days before the sheriff lost his bid for re-election.

After seeing the reader's email, I checked the department's page. It was quietly taken down.

I noticed that when Harn signs official documents, he includes his title – "Sheriff Michael Harn."

Even the president doesn't do that.

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. Follow him on Twitter: @DGiuliani_SVM.

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