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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Media Note: Lynns Sell the St. Albans Messenger

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 4:34 PM

The St. Albans Messenger website features a photo of new owner Jim O'Rourke. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The St. Albans Messenger website features a photo of new owner Jim O'Rourke.
Emerson and Suzanne Lynn, the owners of several local newspapers in Chittenden County, are selling the St. Albans Messenger.

The buyer is Chicago-based publishing executive Jim O’Rourke, according to a story posted on the Messenger's website. The announcement did not disclose the terms of the sale.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Media Note: Valley News Taps Web Editor to Be Newsroom Chief

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Maggie Cassidy - COURTESY OF VALLEY NEWS/JENNIFER HAUCK
  • Courtesy of Valley News/Jennifer Hauck
  • Maggie Cassidy
The Valley News searched far and wide for its next top editor, according to publisher Dan McClory, but ended up promoting one of its own. Starting next month, 30-year-old web editor Maggie Cassidy will take over the West Lebanon, N.H., daily, which serves the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire.

"She's wise beyond her years, is very level-headed and has developed a great rapport with the people she works with," McClory said.

A resident of White River Junction and native of Framingham, Mass., Cassidy joined the Valley News in January 2012 and worked her way up the ranks from news assistant to web editor of the previously tech-averse paper. She'll succeed Martin Frank, who is retiring after more than three decades at the paper and five years as editor.

"I don't know how many times I'm going to be in the position I'm in right now, which is to have been working at a newspaper that I love for seven years and to have an editor position opening that I feel like I can do," Cassidy said.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Media Note: Second Woman Alleges Sexual Harassment at ABC 22/Fox 44

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 2:23 PM

A TV satellite receiver - KOBFUJAR | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Kobfujar | Dreamstime.com
  • A TV satellite receiver
Two women say they were victims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination while working at local Vermont TV stations ABC 22/Fox 44.

The Burlington Free Press reported in March that Catherine Iraheta, a former sales and marketing executive, had sued the stations’ owner, Nexstar Broadcasting, and its former general manager Craig Marrs. On Monday, the Free Press reported that a second former employee, Desiree Roberts, is seeking to join the suit. Both are represented by attorney John Stasny.

Iraheta's suit describes a “good old boys’ club” atmosphere and claims that Marrs complimented her legs and, while staring at her breasts, asked if she was wearing a bathing suit. After she complained to the human resources department, the suit claims that Iraheta experienced retaliation and was ultimately forced to resign.

Roberts, who worked as a photographer and backup director for the stations from November 2017 until this summer, claimed that Marrs berated her during a meeting after she made complaints about anchor Michael Hoey-Lukakis, who she said made derogatory comments about women and graphic sexual insults. She, too, said she was effectively forced to resign.

Marrs retired earlier this year and did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. Reached by email, Hoey-Lukakis, who is not named as a defendant in the suit but is accused of misconduct, said he could not comment.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

'Samantha Bee' Segment Loves Up Hallquist — and Vermont

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 1:06 PM

Ashley Nicole Black, left, a correspondent for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Ashley Nicole Black, left, a correspondent for "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"
Christine Hallquist is the face of the “rainbow wave,” according to a Wednesday night segment on the TBS show "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee."

The show profiled Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial candidate as one of hundreds of LGBT candidates running for office around the nation. But the comedy segment was as much about Vermont’s politics as it was about Hallquist. The six-minute dispatch shows correspondent Ashley Nicole Black searching for a classic good-versus-evil social justice narrative. But the Vermonters she speaks with focus on broadband access and socioeconomic diversity — not the candidates’ gender politics.

“I’m here to make, like, a beautiful Oscar-winning film about a woman who’s just become, like, a champion for the people,” Black tells Hallquist in a sit-down interview at the beginning of the segment.

“Okay, that’s ... Yeah, sure,” Hallquist responds.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Despite Controversy, Burlington Principal Plans to Vet Student Newspaper Stories

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 at 6:59 PM

The Register website - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Register website
Burlington High School principal Noel Green, whose censorship of a student newspaper led to a public outcry this week, has instituted a new policy that requires student journalists to submit articles for review 48 hours before publication.

The policy, issued two days after Green censored a story on the website of the Register, the school's newspaper, says that it is intended “to affirm support for the school newspaper, but also outline guidelines around how it functions.”

Seven Days obtained a copy of the new policy from the student journalists. It refers to Act 49, the Vermont law passed last year that was intended to prevent school administrators from censoring student journalists. But Green notes that there are six instances, such as libelous or slanderous information, that would be precluded from protection under the law, which is commonly referred to as New Voices.

“The only way school administrators can ensure that distributed material passes this litmus test, they must have the ability to view all material before it is printed,” Green wrote. “Thus, moving forward the BHS Register will re-continue the policy from 2016/17 which required material to be submitted to the administration 48 hours prior to publication.”

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Residents Rebuke Burlington School Officials Over Guidance Department Controversies

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 at 12:08 AM

Parent Caroline Crawford at the meeting - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • Parent Caroline Crawford at the meeting
Parents and residents blasted the Burlington School Board and Superintendent Yaw Obeng Thursday night for their handling of unprofessional conduct allegations involving high school guidance director Mario Macias.

During a stinging public comment session, multiple speakers said district leadership ignored complaints about Macias for more than a year and should have placed him on leave Friday. That's when the Vermont Education Agency cited him for six alleged licensing violations, including fabricating a transcript so a student could graduate and behaving inappropriately with a substitute teacher who was a college student.

Numerous speakers also slammed BHS principal Noel Green for ordering the removal of an article from the website of the student newspaper, the Register, detailing the Macias allegations. The story was posted online Monday and removed Tuesday. After an outcry over censorship, Green and Obeng agreed to permit the article to be reposted.

The board went into executive session to discuss an unspecified personnel matter at 7:40 p.m. and concluded it more than an hour later. Asked if they had taken action to put Macias on leave, Obeng and board leaders would not comment. They said the administration and school board would issue statements Friday.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Burlington Principal Reverses Course, Allows Students to Publish Story

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 1:48 PM

The Register's website - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Register's website
Updated at 8:45 p.m.

Burlington High School principal Noel Green has reversed course and will allow student journalists to again publish a story online that he had ordered removed.

The article, first published Monday night by school newspaper the Register, detailed the results of a yearlong Vermont Agency of Education investigation into BHS guidance director Mario Macias, who’s been accused of unprofessional and incompetent behavior. Green asked students to pull the story down Tuesday morning, according to a statement from the school district, after he reviewed Act 49, a law passed in 2017 that’s meant to free student journalists from administrative censorship.

“While protecting student journalism, this law also allows administration to ask students to remove any story which is deemed to be ‘substantially disrupting the ability of the school to perform its educational mission,’” district spokesperson Russ Elek wrote in the statement. “In the opinion of Principal Green, this story very much fell under this stipulation at the time, and District leadership supported his decision to ask that the story be taken off the site.”

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Censorship of Burlington School Newspaper May Have Violated Law

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 6:58 PM

The Register's website - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Register's website
Burlington High School principal Noel Green may have violated state law when he ordered student journalists to take down a story posted to the school newspaper’s website.

Monday night the Register broke the news that the state has been investigating school guidance director Mario Macias, who is accused of unprofessional conduct and could lose his educator's license for nearly a year.
By Tuesday morning, Green ordered the Register’s teacher adviser, Beth Fialko Casey, to pull the article. Fialko Casey conferred with the article’s four authors — editors Julia Shannon-Grillo, Halle Newman, Nataleigh Noble and Jenna Peterson — who reluctantly agreed to comply.

“It did cross our minds that they’d want to talk to us and we were ready to defend our actions but we were not expecting it to be censored,” said Shannon-Grillo, a 16-year-old junior. “We understand [Green’s] decision, but as editors, we don’t agree with it.”

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Seven Days Countersues Burlington School District in Records Case

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 1:36 PM

The Burlington Technical Center is located at Burlington High School. - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • The Burlington Technical Center is located at Burlington High School.
Seven Days has filed a countersuit against the Burlington School District seeking attorney fees and other costs accrued during a public records dispute.

The newspaper originally filed a public records request in June for the district’s resignation agreement with Adam Provost, the former Burlington Technical Center interim director. Provost resigned in January, citing medical reasons, after he spent months on administrative leave, WCAX-TV reported at the time.

When members of the media or citizens request public documents, government entities typically either release the documents or explain why, under the law, they will not.

In this instance, the school district notified Provost of Seven Days’ records request. Through an attorney, the former school administrator consented only to the release of a redacted version of the agreement, the district said in documents filed in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington. The district, which took the position that the full record should be released, then took Provost to court — and also named Seven Days as a defendant. The district wants a judge to review the records and determine whether the agreement should be released in full.

Filing a lawsuit against a news outlet seeking records is highly unusual, as is asking a judge to decide, at that stage, which information is public.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Opinion
Media Note: Lawmaker Claims Bias By Weekly Newspaper

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 6:28 PM

The County Courier's disclosure - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • The County Courier's disclosure
A controversy has erupted in Enosburg, the home turf of the weekly County Courier newspaper. You see, the paper’s owner, publisher and chief reporter, Gregory Lamoureux, happens to be in a relationship with Felisha Leffler, the Republican challenger to Rep. Cindy Weed (P-Enosburg Falls). And Weed believes that Lamoureux has his thumb on the scale.

Weed cites articles published during the legislative session “bashing me on the issues." She said, "The articles align with [Leffler’s] positions.” Weed's chief complaint concerns stories about this year's debate over proposed gun laws, which Weed supported.

"The gun stories ran before my girlfriend was a candidate," Lamoureux contended. "I didn't know she was thinking about [running]."

Weed also complains of the paper’s restrictive policy on letters to the editor. The Courier almost never publishes letters from candidates or their close relatives during campaigns and has a limit of one letter per supporter per campaign.

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