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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Media Note: VTDigger Announces Staff Departures

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 12:19 AM

VTDigger.org founder and editor Anne Galloway - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR ©️ Seven Days
  • VTDigger.org founder and editor Anne Galloway
Online news site VTDigger.org announced the departures of two employees Tuesday — longtime political columnist Jon Margolis and managing editor Colin Meyn.

Veteran journalist Margolis penned his final column Tuesday. He explained that he recently turned 80, and it struck him as “unseemly” for someone his age to be a political analyst in today’s climate.

“Such work is better suited for younger people who are more energetic and less jaded, people who have more to learn because they know less,” Margolis wrote.

In an interview with Seven Days, Margolis, a former political reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said his decade-long stint as a columnist for VTDigger was one of the most enjoyable of his career. But the switch to remote legislating made tracking down news tips tougher, while insightful pieces by VTDigger’s young Statehouse reporters made his political analysis redundant, he said.

“I’m going to miss the collegiality, I’m going to miss the challenge, and I’m going to miss being able to vent my spleen once a week,” Margolis said.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Media Note: WDEV Cancels Dave Gram's Talk Show

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Dave Gram - COURTESY OF DAVE GRAM
  • Courtesy of Dave Gram
  • Dave Gram
WDEV Radio has canceled its daily morning program "The Dave Gram Show" and fired its host, saying he was too opinionated on air.

Gram, a veteran journalist, claims station managers took issue with his criticisms of outgoing President Donald Trump. He was told of the show's immediate cancellation on Friday afternoon.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Media Note: Lindholm to Leave ‘Vermont Edition’ for New Role at VPR

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 4:02 PM

Jane Lindholm (left) and producer Melody Bodette - JAMES BUCK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • James Buck ©️ Seven Days
  • Jane Lindholm (left) and producer Melody Bodette
For nearly 14 years, Vermont Public Radio’s Jane Lindholm has asked probing questions of her guests on seemingly every topic imaginable. Now, the “Vermont Edition” host is preparing for a new role at the station — and VPR is pondering how to revamp its midday public affairs program.

The station announced Tuesday that Lindholm plans to leave the show at the end of January, following a national search for her replacement. Bob Kinzel, who typically hosts the show once a week, will continue to do so, according to news director Sarah Ashworth.

Lindholm expects to spend much of her time expanding "But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids," which she created in 2016. Melody Bodette, a VPR veteran who has produced the show on a part-time basis, will become a full-time senior producer. The two will also team up to produce special projects for the station, including documentaries and live events.

"Fourteen years is a long time to do anything, so I'm ready for some new creative challenges," Lindholm said Tuesday. "Also, it's really hard to juggle two shows that are both competing for attention and both deserve attention."

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Media Note: Local Couple Sells Williston Observer to Local Couple

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 6:11 PM

The latest issue of the Williston Observer - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The latest issue of the Williston Observer
The Williston Observer has new owners for the first time in more than two decades.

Williston residents Susan and Rick Cote purchased the Observer earlier this month from Marianne and Paul Apfelbaum, who bought the weekly paper from its founding ownership group back in 1994.

The paper, which is mailed for free to every home and business in town, announced the sale in a page-two story on Thursday that quoted Marianne Apfelbaum as saying that she and her husband had been hoping to sell the paper to locals.

"I think people are going to be very happy with a smooth transition of the paper to new owners who are equally as committed to community journalism and serving the community as we are," Marianne Apfelbaum told the paper. She could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

UVM Student Media Outlets Decry Changes to Adviser Position

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 9:36 PM

The University of Vermont campus - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • The University of Vermont campus
The editor of the Vermont Cynic, the University of Vermont’s student-run weekly newspaper, has condemned changes to its student media adviser position, alleging that the move, implemented without student leaders’ advice or consent, threatens the independence of UVM’s three media outlets.

In a scathing editorial published September 22, Cynic editor-in-chief and UVM senior Sawyer Loftus called the administration’s changes “a disgusting administrative abuse of power.”

In addition to providing advice to student journalists at the Cynic, the media adviser also offers guidance to WRUV 90.1 FM, the student-led campus radio station, as well as UVMTv, the on-campus television network.

The previous media adviser, Chris Evans, left UVM in July after 14 years to teach journalism at the University of Illinois. During Evans’ tenure, the advisory role fell under UVM’s Department of Student Life, which oversees nearly 300 student clubs on the Burlington campus. Like other cocurricular groups, the Cynic, WRUV and UVMTv are largely or entirely funded by student activity fees.

Last month, the administration appointed Jenny Grosvenor, a former journalist and currently a senior lecturer in the UVM College of Arts and Sciences, to fill Evans’ vacancy. As UVM Provost Patricia Prelock explained in an email to Seven Days, the college recently launched a new minor in reporting and documentary storytelling, so moving the adviser job into the college “support[s] our goal of providing students with a more integrated academic experience, creating options for coursework to advance their skills in journalism.”

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Media Note: Vermont Public Radio, Vermont PBS to Merge

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 4:28 PM

VPR president and CEO Scott Finn - FILE: GLENN RUSSELL
  • File: Glenn Russell
  • VPR president and CEO Scott Finn
Updated at 6:17 p.m.

Vermont's two statewide public broadcasters plan to merge next year, creating what would likely become the state's most financially robust media organization.

The boards of Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS unanimously approved the merger plan on Wednesday, they announced in a joint statement. The arrangement, which is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, is slated to take effect next July.

"We think that together we'll be able to serve Vermont better. We'll be able to tell more stories on more platforms and reach more people," VPR president and CEO Scott Finn, who will lead the combined entity, said in an interview. "We have the same mission and complementary skills and abilities. That's why people feel that it makes sense."

The new organization will be legally incorporated as "Vermont Public," according to Finn, though its leaders have not decided whether to publicly rebrand the radio and television stations under its umbrella. "We don't want to mess with success, and we're going to be very cautious about that," he said.

Similarly, Finn said, it's too soon to say what programming and operational changes might result from the merger, though he made clear that nothing would change until the deal is sealed next summer. "Over time, you'll see us able to do more for the community," he said. "It won't happen tomorrow, but over time I think the community will be able to notice the difference."

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Media Note: Stowe Reporter Lays Off Newsroom Staff

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 3:20 PM

The Stowe Reporter - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • The Stowe Reporter
The Vermont Community Newspaper Group, which publishes the Stowe Reporter and four other weekly papers, laid off three of nine editorial employees this week.

"It's pretty heartbreaking," said publisher Greg Popa. "We've invested a lot of money into content, and that's always sort of been our our mantra here: that you can't cut your way to excellence. So it's really hard on us to do this."

The move comes four months after the company shuttered a sixth weekly, the Waterbury Record. Since then, it has also laid off two members of its graphics department and eliminated through attrition two sales and one administrative position, Popa said.

The company's other papers include the News & Citizen of Morrisville, the Other Paper of South Burlington, the Citizen of Hinesburg and Charlotte, and the Shelburne News.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Media Note: Student-Run Publication Launches in Winooski

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 9:43 AM

The Winooski News front page - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Winooski News front page
A new online publication run by a group of student reporters is seeking to peel back the layers of the Onion City.

The Winooski News, which sent out its first-ever newsletter Thursday morning, is a volunteer effort from students at the University of Vermont.

The publication aims to provide students real-world reporting experience and offer hyper-local coverage to a city without its own dedicated news source, said Richard Watts, director of UVM's Center for Research on Vermont, which oversees the school's minor in reporting and documentary storytelling.

"We know that local news actually helps people in communities become more engaged with what's going on around them," Watts said. "Part of having a vibrant community is having local news."

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Vermont Senate to Change Remote Meeting Policy After More Glitches

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 6:58 PM

An image displayed of a failed upload of a Senate Committee on Natural Resources meeting - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • An image displayed of a failed upload of a Senate Committee on Natural Resources meeting
In a letter to the leaders of the Vermont House and Senate on Monday, Vermont Press Association president Lisa Loomis complained that legislative live-streams were malfunctioning, making committee meetings unavailable to the public. It wasn't the first time, she noted.

"This is like the taxpayers and press being locked out of City Hall for a public meeting," wrote Loomis, who is also editor and co-owner of Waitsfield's Valley Reporter.

The next day, it happened again.

Now, Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) is promising that the Senate will adopt a policy established a month ago by the House barring committees from conducting business when they encounter technical difficulties. "If the streaming isn't working, we'll stop," he pledged. "I'll be telling all the chairs that if it happens again, they should stop officially meeting."

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Media Note: Rutland Herald, Times Argus to Restore Printing Schedule

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2020 at 9:56 PM

Steve Pappas - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-brodeur
  • Steve Pappas
When publisher Steve Pappas made a series of cost-cutting moves at the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus in March, he hoped they would last just two weeks. Instead, they've lasted three months.

Now, in a bid to lure back advertisers and court new subscribers, the papers are returning to their pre-pandemic publishing schedule and hiring back at least some former employees.

"The whole staff is really excited about it," Pappas said.

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