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Former Herald-Examiner Staffer Remembers Her ‘Hacking’ Days

Barbara Sehr, who once worked for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and now does both stand-up in Seattle and the occasional blog entry for Seattle PI, has a fun piece framed within the context of the sordid NOTW scandal.

As a cub reporter for the long gone LA daily, Sehr writes that she was working in the halo of 1976 Oscar winning film All The President’s Men. In those days, there were no concerns about protecting voice mail PIN codes:

The only hacking going on back then was the occasional techno-wizard who could figure out how to make a free call from a pay phone (anyone remember pay phones?) or better yet, make a free long distance call…

If a reporter wanted exclusive information, you had to go into detective mode… At Parker Center in Los Angeles, there were cops that you could count on if you needed details not available from the official press office–as long as the coffee was hot, and the donuts were fresh. You could find cops who could tell colorful background stories about some of Hollywood’s biggest stars–especially when some “TV Cop” encountered a real-life police situation. One time they even let me sit in on a meeting with a celebrity “cop” when he came in to report his car stolen from the set.

On her Seattle PI bio page, it says that Sehr is the only person to have interviewed Bill Gates as both a male and female reporter. FishbowlLA applauds this much rarer example of gender hacking.

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