Inside Seven Days | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Seven Days Hires Award-Winning Reporter Taylor Dobbs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Taylor Dobbs
  • Taylor Dobbs
Award-winning journalist Taylor Dobbs is joining the news team at Vermont’s independent newsweekly, Seven Days. Since September 2013, he’s been a digital reporter at Vermont Public Radio, where he has distinguished himself online and on-air.

Dobbs, 27, has won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his coverage of the opiate crisis, a quadruple homicide and Green Mountain Power’s failure to document expenses. Earlier this month, he won a national Murrow Award for a video illustrating how the Iowa Democratic caucus works — using Legos.
At Seven Days, Dobbs will serve as an investigative reporter and will cover Vermont state government and politics. He’ll start December 6.

Prior to joining VPR, Dobbs wrote several freelance pieces for Seven Days and interned for VTDigger.org. He earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Northeastern University in 2013. Shortly before graduating, Dobbs got some very real-world reporting experience: In the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, he joined the manhunt for the men responsible and covered it all on Twitter. His on-the-scene reporting and photography were picked up by news outlets around the world.

“Taylor’s not going to sit around in a newsroom,” said Seven Days publisher and coeditor Paula Routly. “He’s eager, ambitious, inventive and plugged in.”

Dobbs grew up in Montpelier — less than a mile from the Statehouse.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Meet Innovators and Recruiters — and Speakers From Tesla and Facebook — at the 11th Vermont Tech Jam

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM

MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
The state’s top tech firms will be hiring at Seven DaysVermont Tech Jam, a free event which takes place Friday and Saturday, October 20 and 21, 2017, at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction.

The expo floor will host more than 60 companies, colleges and tech organizations. But this year’s Jam is much more than just a job fair: The schedule includes a dozen presentations organized into three tracks: one for small business owners and decision makers, one for job seekers, and another for anyone curious about emerging opportunities in the local tech scene. This year’s speakers represent companies including Tesla, Facebook, IBM, Burton Snowboards and the new Burlington Code Academy.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Seven Days Political Editor Paul Heintz Wins Two Prestigious Journalism Prizes

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Paul Heintz - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Paul Heintz
For his hard-hitting political reporting and successful efforts to pass a media shield law in Vermont, Seven Days political editor Paul Heintz has been selected as the AP Sevellon Brown New England Journalist of the Year. The New England Society of News Editors honored Heintz at its fall conference with the New England Newspaper & Press Association on Thursday in Natick, Mass. “He’s not just a dogged reporter and eloquent writer,” the judges said of Heintz, 33, of Hinesburg; “he’s a leader in the field.”

Heintz and Seven Days also received the 2017 Morley L. Piper First Amendment Award, which is presented “to a New England newspaper that shows leadership on First Amendment issues, either by the exceptional quality of its reporting or commentary, or for the way it overcame legal challenges.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Eva Sollberger’s Stuck in Vermont Video Series Hits 500 Episode Mark

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:10 PM

Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, today released the 500th episode of Eva Sollberger’s video series, Stuck in Vermont. Since 2007, Sollberger has been documenting Vermont people, places, events and traditions in her videos, which are published each Thursday on sevendaysvt.com. Her Stuck in Vermont stories have been viewed nearly four million times on YouTube. Since 2012, Sollberger and her videos have also appeared weekly on the WCAX local news.

For her 500th episode, Sollberger wrote, directed and starred in a 22-minute musical, featuring several well-known locals, including actor Rusty DeWees, Vermont cartoonist laureate Alison Bechdel, Burlington police chief Brandon Del Pozo, Festival of Fools creator Woody Keppel and VPR’s Friday Night Jazz host Reuben Jackson. The video can be viewed on sevendaysvt.com, and on the Stuck in Vermont YouTube channel.

Many members of the production’s sizable cast and crew attended an invitation-only premiere at Hotel Vermont on Thursday, August 17; the Burlington boutique hotel has sponsored Stuck in Vermont since 2013. General manager Hans van Wees addressed the crowd of 75, along with Cindy Morgan of New England Federal Credit Union, also a current Stuck in Vermont sponsor. Representatives from past sponsoring entities — Coldwell Banker Hickok and Boardman Realty and the Vermont Department of Tourism — also praised Sollberger before the screening.

Steve Cook, deputy commissioner of tourism and marketing for the State of Vermont, said he has heard from numerous people who have visited and even moved to the state after discovering Sollberger’s videos.

Before the screening, Seven Days associate publisher Cathy Resmer noted that the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia recently honored Sollberger with its top multimedia prize at its July convention (see River of Light video below). Over the past two years, the New England Newspaper and Press Association has recognized her work with five first-place awards. Sollberger also won last year's Best Video award from the New England Society of News Editors.
Resmer detailed the astounding amount of work that goes into each episode. “From finding and vetting the stories, to setting up the shoots, to packing and schlepping the cameras, mikes, gimbals and lights, to shooting the footage, to editing … Keeping this up year after year after year requires incredible drive, stamina, persistence and passion,” she said.

In a letter to Sollberger, Gov. Phil Scott echoed that praise. “I commend you for your exceptional drive and dedication to documenting Vermont culture,” he wrote. “Stuck in Vermont serves as a celebration of values Vermonters have always held dear — our cherished independence and strong sense of community — and it serves the public by being made available, for free, to anyone with an internet connection.”

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Seven Days Wins Three First-Place Awards in National Media Competition

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 12:49 PM

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Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won three first-place awards at the annual Association of Alternative Newsmedia conference last month in Washington, D.C.

The AAN Awards recognize the most artful, compelling and courageous journalism produced each year by the alternative newsmedia. AAN member publications vary in size and circulation, and are based in cities across the U.S. and Canada; the annual awards contest gives these publications the opportunity to compete against their peers. This year’s competition consisted of 817 entries submitted by 67 publications; the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland conducted the judging. Seven Days’ awards included:

Multimedia, 1st Place

click image Eva Sollberger
  • Eva Sollberger
For Eva Sollberger’s  Stuck in Vermont episode, “The River of Light Harvest Moon Winooski Paddle.” A second video of hers, “Stuck Inside a Vermonter’s Colon,” received an honorable mention.

Free Speech, 1st Place

click image Paul Heintz
  • Paul Heintz
click image Terri Hallenbeck
  • Terri Hallenbeck
For stories by Terri Hallenbeck and Paul Heintz about Seven Days’ decision to fight subpoenas issued to Heintz, reporter Mark Davis and news editor Matthew Roy. All three were involved in covering the sexual assault investigation of state Sen. Norm McAllister.

Beat Reporting, 1st Place, "Circulation Under 45,000"

click image Mark Davis
  • Mark Davis
For a selection of “cops and courts” stories by Mark Davis about a zealous prosecutor in Bennington County; a justice-seeking Burlington mother whose two sons overdosed together; and a police-officer-involved shooting in Winooski.

Seven Days also received second-place honors in the Special Section category for the newly redesigned What’s Good: A Seven Days Field Guide to  Burlington. Seven Days writers and designers were recognized with third- place  honors for Film Criticism (Margot Harrison), Cover Design (Diane Sullivan and Brooke Bousquet), Illustration and Format Buster/Innovation — the latter for a collaborative Bernie Sanders-themed “Feel the Bern” adult coloring contest. Honorable mention recipients included Hannah Palmer Egan in the Food Writing category, and Kymelya Sari in the Race Reporting category, for her cover story “Finding Her Voice: Hate crime victim Fatuma Bulle advocates for refugee women and families.”

Friday, May 26, 2017

What's the Deal With Our 50-Foot Donald Trump Cover?

Posted By and on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 4:33 PM

This week's Seven Days cover features an illustration by Vermont cartoonist and regular New Yorker contributor Harry Bliss.

How does something like this go from the original concept to the front of 36,000 newspapers? Here's our art director, Rev. Diane Sullivan, to explain:

And once you've taken a peek behind the scenes, make sure to check out the cover story, by Paul Heintz: "Trumpatized? Prominent Vermonters Reveal Their White House Worries."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vermont Restaurant Week Donates $21,380 to the Vermont Foodbank

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:26 PM

Vermont Foodbank staff
  • Vermont Foodbank staff
A total of $21,380 was donated to the Vermont Foodbank as a result of Seven Days' 8th annual Vermont Restaurant Week. This popular event was presented by Vermont Federal Credit Union and organized by Seven Days.

“Vermont Restaurant Week is an incredible celebration of food for our community. It raises awareness about the issue of hunger in our state and helps us ensure all of our neighbors have the quality food they need to thrive,” said Vermont Foodbank CEO John Sayles. “We are so grateful to Seven Days, Vermont Federal Credit Union, City Market, the Vermont Community Foundation, sponsors, restaurants and customers who came together to make this generous gift possible. Their commitment helps work toward a reality where everyone in our community can celebrate the joy of good food.”

“This is Vermont Federal Credit Union’s eighth year as presenting sponsor for Vermont Restaurant Week,” said VFCU President and CEO Jean Giard. “We are proud to be part of this event, which supports the Vermont Foodbank and features our local restaurants.”

Many factors contributed to the total donation. Proceeds from the Bottomless Brunch Bash, a curated tasting event featuring local chefs, went to the foodbank. Donations also came from a panel discussion at ArtsRiot; from Aperitivo, a snacky social hour at Maglianero; event raffles; and a portion of sponsorship dollars.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Vermont Community Foundation provided a matching grant of $5,000 for the foodbank. The foundation was established in 1986 by Vermonters to serve their charitable goals and provides leadership in giving by responding to community needs, mobilizing and connecting philanthropists, and by keeping Vermont’s nonprofit sector vital with grants and other investments.

City Market/Onion River Co-op, one of the festival’s sponsors, made the Vermont Foodbank its 40 percent recipient in the store’s Rally for Change program during the month of April. That program encourages customers to round up their total at the register and donate the difference.

Lastly, participating restaurants were encouraged to set up individual fundraising pages on classy.com to help raise more money for the foodbank. The Hyde Away Inn & Restaurant in Waitsfield collected more than $2,000 for the cause.

More than 100 restaurants across the state participated in Vermont Restaurant Week this year. Each location offered special, prix-fixe meals during the event, which ran from April 21 to 30.

In addition to Vermont Federal Credit Union and City Market, this year’s sponsors were Vermont Creamery, Switchback Brewing Co., WhistlePig Whiskey, Swish White River and the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, with media support from Jumponit and WNCS the Point.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kids VT, Seven Days' Free Parenting Magazine, Wins Six Awards From National Parenting Media Group

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 1:29 PM

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For the sixth year in a row, Kids VT, Vermont’s free monthly parenting magazine, took home the top writing prize at the Parenting Media Association’s Design and Editorial Awards Competition. The national competition recognizes excellence in journalism, photography and design in PMA member publications. The association announced the honors at its annual March convention in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Kids VT won the following awards in its size category:

“The writing in this publication is altogether original and engaging,” wrote the judge in the Overall Writing category.

The judge in the General Excellence category noted that, “Kids VT is unafraid to tackle complicated and challenging subjects.” An example: Freelance contributor Katie Titterton’s story from the April 2016 issue, about how Vermont parents navigate the “benefits cliff.” The term refers to the steep and sudden decline in health care benefits that a family faces if the parents’ income is just a few dollars over the maximum threshold for Medicaid.

“The author takes on a tough and important subject and clearly explains the topic,” wrote the judge in the News Feature category. “Not many parent’s publications would take on a complex issue like health care and be able to pull off a balanced and helpful piece. Excellent topic and superb journalism.”

This is the sixth year Kids VT has entered the PMA competition after the magazine was purchased by Burlington-based newsweekly Seven Days. The Kids VT staff recently redesigned the free monthly magazine for the first time since 2011 — the March 2017 issue is the first with several fresh new features, a kids’ activity section and a reorganized family fun calendar.

The PMA, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., represents more than 100 parenting magazines and newspapers in the United States, Canada and Australia. Kids VT is distributed free each month at more than 700 locations in northern and central Vermont. Its comprehensive calendar and weekly email newsletter, the Wee-Mail, keep Vermont families up-to-date on the latest local events. Find all of Kids VT’s award-winning content at kidsvt.com.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Vermonters Find Jobs on Seven Days’ New and Improved Career Website

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Seven Days is excited to announce the launch of its brand-new, mobile-friendly job board for Vermont job seekers and recruiters.

The improved digital service helps candidates find current, local and vetted employment opportunities according to their interests and talents. Human Resource professionals can now manage job listings and track applicants throughout the hiring process.

Job Recruiters can now...
  • Post jobs using a simpler, more descriptive form that includes key info about their company and open positions (location, application deadlines, video, images, etc.)
  • Make edits to the text of their live job postings and mark them “filled” when a hire is made.
  • Accept applications and manage the hiring process via the job board’s new applicant tracking tool.
Job Seekers can now...
  • Search for jobs by keyword, location, category and job type (full-time, part-time, etc.)
  • Set up job alert emails using the same search criteria above.
  • Save jobs to a custom list with their own notes on the positions.
  • Apply for jobs directly through the site.
  • Share jobs on all popular social media channels.
Seven Days is the local marketplace for recruitment advertising. We connect qualified employees — our readers — with the best places to work in Vermont,” said publisher and coeditor Paula Routly.

All jobs posted online are included in the weekly employment section of Seven Days. More than 80,000 readers across the state — some of whom may not know they’re looking for a job — pick up the print newspaper. The employment section of the website hosts an additional 10,922 online visits per week.

The new, improved digital experience lets “employers and job seekers manage the entire process from the site's dashboard,” said Michelle Brown, who has spent more than 17 years helping Vermont recruiters find qualified applicants through Seven Days Jobs. “At the same time, there is a live person to help you through the process, if you need it.”
Michelle Brown
  • Michelle Brown

There’s another reason to choose Seven Days Jobs over other online recruitment services, said Routly: “It supports our quality journalism.”

Human Resource professionals who are interested in starting a multi-media campaign to target Vermont job seekers should contact Michelle Brown at 865-1020 ex 21 or email her at michelle@sevendaysvt.com.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Seven Days Wins 10 First-Place Awards, Including General Excellence, in Regional Media Competition

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 3:41 PM

click image Kymelya Sari, 2016 Rookie of the Year
  • Kymelya Sari, 2016 Rookie of the Year
Seven Days, Vermont's free, independent newsweekly, won 10 first-place awards in this year's New England Better Newspaper Competition — including General Excellence and top honors for crimes and courts reporting, video journalism, design and human interest feature story. Staff writer Kymelya Sari was chosen as Rookie of the Year for weekly newspapers in the six-state region. The contest is organized by the New England Newspaper and Press Association; winners were announced at NENPA's annual convention last week in Boston.

NENPA members submitted 3,226 entries, split among five categories: daily newspapers with circulation up to 30,000; daily newspapers with circulation more than 30,000; weekly newspapers with circulation up to 6,000; weekly newspapers with circulation more than 6,000; and specialty publications. Seven Days — which circulates 36,000 copies every Wednesday — competed against numerous other large, New England weeklies.

Seven Days' 10 awards included:

  • First place for General Excellence. "Well-written and researched stories," commented one judge. "Superb weekly paper."
  • First place, weekly newspaper Rookie of the Year, for Kymelya Sari. "I applaud the paper for creating a new beat on the immigrant and refugee communities," one judge wrote. "Most importantly, thank you to Kymelya Sari for the depth and quality of writing that makes the beat crucial to the readers." Sari, a Singapore native, first came to Seven Days as a reporting fellow, after earning a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. She is now a staff writer.
  • First place, Overall Design and Presentation, for the Seven Days design team. "Takes design risks...and succeeds!" gushed the judge. "It's a weekly that's light on the eyes, yet not afraid to tackle issues."
  • First place for Best Overall Website. "An excellent website and perfectly suited to its altweekly style," noted the judge. "Solid user interactivity across the website."
  • click image Eva Sollberger
    • Eva Sollberger
    Two first-place awards for senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger's weekly web video series, "Stuck in Vermont": News Video, first place: "Stuck in Vermont 427: Trumpnado Hits Burlington;" Entertainment Video, first place: "Stuck in Vermont 446: Hanksville Mud Bog."
  • A first place in Crimes and Courts Reporting for Mark Davis. In particular, the judge praised his cover story, "A Second Chance: A Vermont Sheriff Risks His Career by Hiring a Sex Offender." "The reporting, interviews and documentation reveal a tale of conscience, struggle and complexity — and also forces the reader to reconsider the meaning of justice and redemption."
  • Mark Davis also won first place for his Human Interest Feature Story, "Right in Rutland: Will Mayor Chris Louras Fall on his Sword for 100 Syrians?" 
  • Kymelya Sari also took first place for Racial or Ethnic Issue Coverage, for her cover story on hate-crime victim Fatuma Bulle, who has become an advocate for refugee women and families. Readers "were treated with a well-written, deeply reported feature that introduces them to a victim who refused to be victimized," wrote the judge.
  • click image Paul Heintz
    • Paul Heintz
    click image Terri Hallenbeck
    • Terri Hallenbeck
  • First place for "Right-to-Know" for Terri Hallenbeck and Paul Heintz. The pair wrote about Seven Days' decision to contest subpoenas received as a result of the investigation of Sen. Norm McAllister. "Seven Days invested significant financial and editorial resources to challenge subpoenas issued for three of its reporters," noted the judge. "This type of investment reflects an admirable commitment to freedom of the press. When the paper could have easily accepted the subpoenas, it instead fought them and educated its readers about the First Amendment every step of the way."
Seven Days scored second-place honors for specialty publication, for the newly redesigned What's Good: A Seven Days Field Guide to Burlington. Political editor Paul Heintz won second place for political columnist and local personality profile for his cover story on Northeast Kingdom developer Bill "Sunshine" Stenger.

Finally, Eva Sollberger, Diane Sullivan and Bryan Parmelee shared an honorable mention in the feature video category, for "Stuck in Vermont 434: Stuck Inside a Vermonter's Colon." The video, which documents Seven Days art director Rev. Diane Sullivan's colonoscopy, memorializes her brother, Michael, who died of colorectal cancer in 2003.

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