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Friday, March 23, 2018

Keep This Newspaper Free For All

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 3:53 PM

  • Illustrations: Sean Metcalf
Boston. New York. Philadelphia. Baltimore.  All of them once had powerful and provocative weekly newspapers that have ceased publication in recent years.

Vermont’s Seven Days continues to thrive, but many of our readers have asked what they can do to assure our locally owned media outfit stays strong into the future.

It’s a tough question for a for-profit company. Since 1995, Seven Days has been a community resource, with cultural criticism and in-depth news, event listings, personal ads and original artwork.

Another unique feature: Seven Days is free, in print and online. Advertising, almost all of which is local, covers the cost of creating, printing and distributing 36,000 copies each week. That includes employing more than 60 talented people.

Our business model has worked because Vermont is an unusual place: The digital trends that have put locally owned shops out of business in other parts of the country haven’t disrupted commerce as thoroughly here. Vermont merchants are crucial to our communities — they employ workers, sponsor events and attract both locals and tourists to our towns. Many independent stores, restaurants, service providers and other businesses advertise in Seven Days and, in return, we ask our readers to patronize them. That symbiotic relationship helps us all.

But we recognize that sustaining our enterprise might call for something more in the age of Amazon, Google and Facebook. We’ve already diversified our operations, adding publications, events, and services such as ticketing and obituaries. Giving satisfied readers a way to show their appreciation for Seven Days is a logical next step. So, to those of you who understand the essential role of local media and want to help, our response is: Thanks, we’ll take it!

If you like what we’re doing, become a Seven Days Super Reader for as little as $7 a month. That’s $1.75 a week, which is less than what it actually costs us to produce a single copy of the print paper — think of it as a voluntary subscription. Along with a guilt-free read, you’ll get our undying appreciation, a monthly email newsletter, swell swag, and invitations to events and discussions.

With your support, Seven Days will continue to flourish. We’ll keep Vermont journalism free and independent, our communities connected and you, our valued readers, in the know.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

About The Author

Paula Routly

Paula Routly

Paula Routly came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. After graduation, she stayed and worked as a dance critic, arts writer, news reporter and editor before she started Seven Days newspaper with Pamela Polston in 1995. Routly covered arts news, then food, and, starting in 2008, focused her editorial energies on building the news side of the operation, for which she is a regular weekly editor. She conceptualized and managed the “Give and Take” special report on Vermont’s nonprofit sector, the “Our Towns” special issue and the yearlong “Hooked” series exploring Vermont’s opioid crisis. When she’s not editing stories, Routly runs the business side of Seven Days — overseeing finances, management and product development. She spearheaded the creation of the newspaper’s numerous ancillary publications and events such as Restaurant Week and the Vermont Tech Jam. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

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