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Editor forced out of job after running Democrat's column

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Published: Wednesday March 22, 2006

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The longtime chief correspondent for The Associated Press in Vermont has been forced out of his job, stunning the state's journalists and politicians, after he ran a column by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the wire, the New York Times reports Wednesday. Excerpts from the registration-restricted article:

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Christopher Graff, 52, a writer who was in charge of The A.P.'s Vermont bureau in Montpelier, was told Monday he no longer had a job. 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.

Mr. Graff, a 27-year A.P. employee and host of "Vermont This Week" on Vermont Public Television for more than a decade, said he could not discuss the matter because he had signed a nondisclosure agreement. But speaking of news articles yesterday about his losing his job, he said, "It's a little like reading your obituary prematurely."

Jack Stokes, a spokesman for The A.P. in New York, confirmed that Mr. Graff was "no longer with the company" and said The A.P. did not discuss personnel issues.

Candace Page, a longtime reporter and former managing editor of The Burlington Free Press, said: "The phone lines were burning up around the state. He's certainly a solid journalist and I can't imagine why The A.P. would fire him."

FULL STORY HERE