More Recognition | Freyne Land
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Sunday, February 4, 2007

More Recognition

Posted By on Sun, Feb 4, 2007 at 10:56 AM

Ah, made it to another Super Bowl Sunday!

Lost count.

And we're starting to lose count of the kudos coming in for Chris Graff's Vermont political gem -  "Dateline Vermont."

The latest is from Roll Call.

Here are some exerpts from the review.


Scenes From

Vermont

January 30, 2007
By Marnette Federis,
Roll Call Staff

click to enlarge chis_graff_1.jpg
...In his book, Graff tracks the political shifts of the Green Mountain State, which went from one of the most Republican in the 1960s to the one of the most liberal today.

When Graff first arrived to the state he was 11 years old. In his small rural community, Graff learned how Vermonters marked the "first sap run, the day the ice went out on the pond, the day the bluebirds returned to the house ... the day the phoebes arrived to build their nest above the kitchen stoop."

Vermonters took pride in their rural and very Republican roots, Graff observed, but as a new interstate brought tourism and industry to the area, there was no stopping a change in politics. By the time Graff became a journalist, he was faced with the challenge of how to cover a state in transformation.

"Half of this job I loved was to spot the change, document it and analyze it," Graff writes. "The other half was to keep an eye on Vermont's essence and make sure it was not forgotten in the name of progress."

...Five days after Graff's termination, the AP received a letter from four of the state's top politicians: Douglas, the Republican governor, Leahy, Jeffords and Sanders, who was then an Independent House Member. The letter asked for Graff's reinstatement and said the journalist "has been a tremendous credit to [the] AP in Vermont and beyond."

At the time, Graff already knew his career as a journalist was coming to an end. He writes that it was as if "an essential part of him had been ripped away." But the conviction of the four Vermont politicians was, if anything, a sign of how Graff handled himself as a journalist throughout his years with the AP. In the book, Graff writes that while he had his share of politicians complaining about AP's coverage, the letter showed how Graff was able to establish trust and respect from Vermont's's top newsmakers.

"In the course of my career, I don't think anyone knew what my politics was," Graff said. "Whether it was Dean or Jeffords, or Sanders . ... I think politicians in Vermont  felt I was always willing to listen, and if they had a complaint I didn't get offended."

Graff quips in his book that if his firing could "bring together a socialist, a Democrat, a Republican and an independent, then perhaps it was for the good."

Graff now works as the vice president of communications for the National Life Group in Vermont.

He currently is promoting his book and is unsure whether another one is in his future — though he has plenty of material left. And while his departure from the AP was both shocking and painful, Graff writes that he wouldn't have changed anything but the ending.

Amen.

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Bio:
Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne

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