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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Media Note: WPTZ-TV Announces Move From Colchester to South Burlington

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:31 PM

A TV satellite receiver - KOBFUJAR | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Kobfujar |
  • A TV satellite receiver
WPTZ-TV plans to vacate its crowded digs in Colchester for a new studio
in South Burlington, the NBC affiliate announced Tuesday.

The station's Plattsburgh bureau will stay open, but the technical hub located there now will move to the new location in the Technology Park at 30 Community Drive in South Burlington. The move will happen by next spring.

The station, known as NBC5, also announced that it will open a new bureau in Lebanon, N.H., and close the one it currently runs on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River in White River Junction.

The station's workforce of roughly 90 employees in New York and Vermont won't change in size. But some jobs will move from New York to Vermont, said Justin Antoniotti, president and general manager of WPTZ and WNNE, which serves the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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Media Note: Valley News to Cut Printing, Design Operations

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 12:56 PM

A front page from May
  • A front page from May
The Lebanon, N.H.-based Valley News will close its printing operation by the end of this year and is outsourcing its advertising design service next month.

Printing will be done at a new facility near Concord, N.H. that will serve three newspapers owned by Newspapers of New England — the News, the Concord Monitor and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. Publisher Dan McClory announced the changes in Wednesday's paper.

Three designers will lose their jobs in July, when the News will begin contracting with Gannett for design services. Twelve full-time and 18 part-time staffers in printing and distribution will have to choose whether to relocate to central New Hampshire or adapt to a commute that will take at least an hour each way. They'll have some time to decide; the new press won't be ready to go until December.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Media Note: Free Press Lays Off Veteran Photog Glenn Russell

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2018 at 1:11 PM

  • Courtesy of Glenn Russell
  • Glenn Russell
After 25 years as a staff photographer for the Burlington Free Press, Glenn Russell learned Tuesday morning that he no longer had a job.

The veteran photographer — and, more recently, videographer — took his first freelance assignment with the paper in 1986 and joined its staff in 1993. He was part of a dwindling photography staff that, in the 1980s, included five staff photographers and now appears to include just one: Ryan Mercer.

Russell, 56, confirmed the news to Seven Days but declined to provide further comment. According to Free Press executive editor Mike Kilian, Russell was the sole employee to lose his job Tuesday. Kilian also declined an interview request.

Russell's layoff appears to be the first in the Free Press newsroom since October 2016, when the paper dismissed three journalists and one advertising employee.

There have been other transitions: Then-editor Denis Finley was fired in January after posting a series of controversial messages on Twitter. Longtime reporter and editor Adam Silverman departed in March for a job with the Vermont State Police; it appears he was not replaced. Last month, the paper shifted veteran opinion editor Aki Soga to the news staff and eliminated his old job. 

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Media Note: Vermont Life Magazine to Cease Publishing

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 1:26 PM

The most recent cover - VERMONT LIFE
  • Vermont Life
  • The most recent cover
Vermont Life magazine will publish for the last time next week, Gov. Phil Scott’s administration announced Thursday. The closure of the financially troubled state-run magazine comes after administration officials earlier this year said that the operation was running "in the black" and chipping away at its $3.5 million debt.

Michael Schirling, the secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, said the magazine’s finances were trending in the right direction until this spring. Schirling said the publication’s problems were similar to those faced by privately owned newspapers and magazines.

“Advertising revenue and subscription rates,” Schirling said. “We haven’t been able to recover advertisers from what was an upturn for several quarters. We started to see a downturn earlier this year, but we expected that to turn back to a more positive number, and we were just unable to do that.”

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Sean Hannity's Real Estate Empire Includes Okemo Condo

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 6:32 PM

  • Dreamstime/Zhukovsky
  • Sean Hannity
An investigation by the Guardian revealed Sunday that Fox News host Sean Hannity spent at least $90 million on more than 870 properties in seven states — including Vermont.

The story was sparked by the revelation in federal court last week that Hannity was a client of President Donald Trump's attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, whose home and office were raided the week before by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Speaking on Fox News after the court hearing, Hannity said his work with Cohen focused almost exclusively on real estate.

"I hate the stock market," he said. "I prefer real estate. Michael knows real estate."

Hannity loves real estate so much that he bought dozens of properties out of foreclosure over the past decade, according to the Guardian. Some of those were purchased with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — a fact that Hannity failed to disclose during an interview last June with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

So where, exactly, are the Fox News host's Vermont holdings?

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

HuffPost: Notorious White Nationalist 'Ricky Vaughn' a Waterbury Native

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 5:57 PM

A social media profile image of "Ricky Vaughn" - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • A social media profile image of "Ricky Vaughn"
Updated at 9:36 a.m. April 6, 2018, with a statement from the Mackey family.

An infamous white nationalist troll who went by the online moniker "Ricky Vaughn" is a 28-year-old Waterbury native whose father is a prominent Montpelier lobbyist, the Huffington Post reported Thursday.

The man known as Ricky Vaughn, whose online profile grew during the 2016 general election, is actually Douglass Mackey. He graduated from Harwood Union High School and Middlebury College, and now lives in Manhattan, the Huffington Post reported.

His father, Scott Mackey, is a partner at Leonine Public Affairs and served on the Harwood Union School Board.

“We were devastated to learn this week of Doug's beliefs and on-line activities as reported in the Huffington Post," Scott Mackey said in a statement released Friday. "They are antithetical to the values we hold and with which he was raised. We are still trying to understand how he could have done something like this and hope he will find some way to make amends for the harm he has caused.”

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Media Note: Pennsylvania Chain to Buy Rutland Herald, Times Argus

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 6:56 PM

The headquarters of the Rutland Herald - FILE: CALEB KENNA
  • The headquarters of the Rutland Herald
The Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus are changing hands — again.

Sample News Group, a Pennsylvania-based chain of 75 newspapers, plans to buy the Vermont dailies by the end of the month, owners Reade Brower and Chip Harris said in a press release issued Thursday. The pair bought the Herald and Times Argus just 18 months ago from the Mitchell family, which had owned them for decades.

"I was as surprised as anyone," said Herald and Times Argus editor Steve Pappas, who first learned of the deal Thursday morning. "I had to Google them."

Details of the transaction were scarce. Sample News Group president George "Scoop" Sample referred an inquiry to Herald general manager Rob Mitchell.

"He's excited to work with us," said Mitchell, who remained with the papers after his family sold them in September 2016. "Obviously there's going to probably be changes in certain ways, like philosophically and all that, but in general he believes in running good newspapers."

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Media Note: VPR Hires New CEO

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 12:41 PM

  • Courtesy West Virginia Public Broadcasting
  • Scott Finn
Vermont Public Radio named a new chief executive Thursday. Scott Finn, who is currently chief executive officer and executive director of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, will replace Robin Turnau as VPR's president and CEO.

Turnau announced in August that she would step down after a 29-year career at VPR and nine years at the organization's helm. Her tenure was marked by expansion of VPR's revenues and programming, including the establishment of a statewide network devoted to classical music and a $10 million capital campaign that funded, among other things, a new headquarters in Colchester.

The 46-year-old Finn was selected after a lengthy national search. In a VPR press release, Peggy Williams, chair of the VPR board, called him "a forward-thinking and experienced leader" with "extensive experience in public media."

Finn comes from a background in journalism, both print and public media, before moving into management. He spent the past five years at WVPB, where he oversaw an expansion of operations despite significant reductions in state funding, which once accounted for nearly half of the service's revenue.

Finn is scheduled to join VPR on May 7. Turnau will stay on until early May.

Correction, March 22, 2018: An earlier version of this story misstated Turnau's departure date.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Media Note: David Moats Out at Herald, Times Argus

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 3:26 PM

David Moats - FILE
  • File
  • David Moats
The Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus have eliminated the position of editorial page editor and laid off its longtime occupant: Pulitzer Prize-winner David Moats.

Moats had worked for the papers since 1982 and helmed their editorial pages since 1992. He won the Pulitzer in 2001 for a series of editorials about the debate over civil unions, during which Vermont came to grips with a state Supreme Court decision mandating official recognition of same-sex relationships. He remains the only Vermonter to win a Pulitzer for journalism, according to Sean Murphy, digital content manager for the Pulitzer Prizes organization.

"This is a business decision that has more to do with the future of the organization than the present," the papers' general manager, Rob Mitchell, wrote in an internal email obtained by Seven Days. "As we constantly re-evaluate legacy positions, we must make decisions on which ones to keep over the next several years as we transition to a new model for local newspapers."

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Media Note: WDEV Hires Veteran Journalist Dave Gram

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 4:06 PM

  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Dave Gram
One of Vermont's most respected journalists is about to take on a new medium. Dave Gram, an editor for who spent 31 years covering the Green Mountain State for the Associated Press, has been hired by WDEV Radio as the host of its daily two-hour talk show.

Gram's first day behind the microphone will be February 26. He replaces Mike Smith, who is leaving on February 19 after two and a half years as host of "Open Mike." The program will get a new name, which has yet to be determined, according to station owner Steve Cormier.

The search for a new host, he said, involved calling people and soliciting suggestions. That's when Gram's name surfaced. "He came in, we talked to him and we offered him the job," said Cormier. "Sometimes it's that simple."

Gram's a serious newsman, but he's known in Statehouse circles for a sharp sense of humor that seems likely to translate well to radio. In both respects he's not unlike Mark Johnson, who hosted the show at WDEV for 16 years before, ironically, becoming an editor at VTDigger in 2015.

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