Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of News in 25 Years | Inside Seven Days

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Friday, August 21, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of News in 25 Years

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 11:28 AM

Seven Days started out as a 28‑page arts paper; for the first five years, most of the bylines belonged to its culture-writing founders, Pamela Polston and Paula Routly. Soon, though, there were 80 to 120 pages to fill each week. Adding local news to the mix seemed like the next logical step.

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Seven Days hired its first staff writer, Ken Picard, in 2002. He started churning out news features, including the first exposé of Mexican farm laborers toiling in secret on Vermont dairy farms, published in June 2003. The next year we launched the “Local Matters,” section, located between Peter Freyne’s “Inside Track” column and the paper’s extensive arts coverage and comprehensive event listings. For decades Kevin J. Kelley, one of Seven Days’ most prolific freelancers, reliably contributed news stories and art reviews.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, the internet and websites like Craigslist had already begun to beat up daily newspapers. Vermont newsrooms contracted in response.

Seven Days
did just the opposite. Knowing that responsible, fact-based journalism is essential to a functioning democracy, its owners decided instead to expand.

Today our news team is one of the largest in Vermont, made up of experienced local journalists — including three editors in the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame — as well as a rising generation of talented reporters, writers and multimedia storytellers. In recent years, this team has investigated Vermont’s nonprofit economy, the opioid epidemic, sexual misconduct in Vermont prisons and neglect in eldercare facilities. Another frequent topic: the state of local media.

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