In Vermont, it’s easy to interview our elected officials, no matter how high up the political food chain they are. Heck, you can even run into them in the grocery store.
A pol’s media spokesperson, aka “flack,” serves as his or her buffer from media hounds. At the same time, these flacks want to be a source for, and not a scourge of, said media hounds. Otherwise, how’s their boss gonna get some ink or screen time?
One of the best at this balancing act is Paul Heintz, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). He joined Welch in November 2008, just after the congressman was elected to a second term.
A 2006 Dartmouth College grad, Heintz has been on the other side of the phone, too. He spent time as a reporter at the Brattleboro Reformer and worked briefly on staff at such prestigious public news programs as “The NewsHour” on PBS and NPR’s “On the Media.”
Heintz is affable, understands deadlines, is willing to chew the fat (off the record, as any good flack knows) and, like many Hill staffers, is available at nearly all hours of the day.
And, while Heintz pitches positive stories about his boss and issues a continuous stream of press releases, he’ll also go the extra mile, tracking down other members of Congress, when necessary, to help round out a story.
Now, that’s service.
- Shay Totten