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Longtime Idaho state politics journalist Betsy Russell to receive civic engagement award

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Longtime Idaho state politics journalist Betsy Russell to receive civic engagement award

Nov 20, 2023 | 10:00 am ET
By Clark Corbin
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Longtime Idaho state politics journalist Betsy Russell to receive civic engagement award
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Journalist Betsy Z. Russell asks a candidate question during the Idaho Supreme Court debate on May 6, 2016. (Otto Kitsinger)

Betsy Russell, the longtime president of the Idaho Press Club who covered state government for 36 years before retiring Jan. 1, is being honored by the City Club of Boise this month.

Russell will receive the Stimpson Award for Civic Engagement during ceremonies beginning at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St., in Boise. 

During her career, Russell covered Idaho government and politics for three major regional newspapers – the Idaho Statesman, the Spokesman-Review and the Idaho Press. Russell was a standing guest on Idaho Public Television’s weekly show “Idaho Reports,” and her Eye on Boise blog was considered essential reading for anybody interested in the inner workings of the Idaho Legislature and state government. 

Throughout her career, Russell championed government transparency and was a steadfast advocate for keeping government meetings and records open and accessible to the public. 

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“Russell earned this honor not just for her impartial and comprehensive journalism,” City Club of Boise officials wrote when they announced Russell’s honor. “She was a longtime leader of the Idaho Press Club and the Capitol Correspondents Association, devoting herself to ensuring access to public meetings, documents, and data – never hesitating to put her personal influence and reputation at stake. She helped found Idahoans for Openness in Government, bringing together journalists, elected officials, lobbyists, advocates, and academics to foster open government in public meetings, official records, courtroom proceedings and more.”

Tickets to the ceremony where Russell will receive the Stimpson Award for Civic Engagement are on sale for $45 for City Club members or $50 for the public. More information about the event and the award is available on the City Club of Boise’s website.