Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Graff is gone, but why?

The news yesterday that longtime journalist Christopher Graff is no longer head of Vermont's Associated Press bureau came as a shock to many people. There are also a plethora of unanwsered questions — was he fired, or did he resign? In any case, why did this happen, and why so sudden?

It's interesting to see how differently the story was reported in state papers this morning. The news was first reported by Darren Allen, head of the Vermont Press Bureau, writing yesterday in his online blog Hall Monitor. Allen's story today in the Times Argus and Rutland Herald says only that Graff "departed."

Over at the weekly Vermont Guardian, the headline says that Graff was "fired." It's reported that Graff was "dismissed without warning" and that his departure was a "removal."

Not so, according to the Burlington Free Press, which reports in its business section that Graff "resigned from the news service." Graff's boss at the AP, Larry Laughlin, "told the Free Press that Graff resigned, but declined to provide details on his departure."

Vermont blogs are hot on the trail, too. Seven Days' Cathy Resmer has a roundup over at 802 Online. The anonymous blog Will Chamberlain's Vermont, meanwhile, asserts that Graff was fired, but in doing so inaccurately cites Allen's Vermont Press Bureau story. Allen's report, as mentioned above, doesn't say what happened: "Whether Graff was fired or resigned was unclear Monday, although Laughlin's presence in Montpelier was unusual."

Unusual indeed.

— Scott Monroe

UPDATE: Romensko has a link to Allen's story on Graff as well, and carries this spicy headline, "Associated Press dismisses Vermont bureau chief Graff." Dismisses? Meanwhile, the blog PoliticsVT proclaims in its title that "AP's Graff Gets the Boot." That blog says the bureau chief was "fired" and "let go under unknown circumstances."

UPDATE II: Nice work by a keen blogger in catching today's (Wednesday morning's) New York Times story on Graff, which sheds a whole lot more light on the matter. The Times reports that Graff was "forced out of his job" and notes that "The move came after he put a partisan column on the wire, and as the news agency is consolidating some of its bureaus across state lines." Apparently, according to Emerson Lynn, editor and publisher of The St. Albans Messenger, Graff's dismissal might have been related to "the A.P.'s having told him this month that it was inappropriate for him to have posted a column by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, on the wire." Leahy's column ran as part of Sunshine Week, which highlights the need for open government and public records. The column also contained a section that's critical of the Bush Administration. Some of the fog is beginning to disperse.


Blogger Morgan W. Brown said...

Today's (Wednesday, March 22, 2006) edition of the New York Times includes an article on the subject within the Business section of the paper, here.

3:37 AM  
Blogger Scott Monroe said...

Wow. Thanks for the link. The Times certainly sheds a lot more light on the matter.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Morgan W. Brown said...

You're welcome Scott.

Of course I am quite certain Peter Freyne will also have something more to share and say on the matter as well in his Inside Track column within today's edition of 7Days.

8:42 AM  

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