Backstory 2019: What Seven Days Writers Didn't Tell You the First Time Around | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Backstory 2019: What Seven Days Writers Didn't Tell You the First Time Around 

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Seven Days Staff

Seven Days Staff

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James Buck

James Buck

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James Buck is a multimedia journalist for Seven Days.

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    Dozens of talented people have cycled through Seven Days in the 24 years we've been covering Vermont news and culture. One of them was Kate O'Neill, a Burlington native who came to work for us as a proofreader in 2008. For four years, she led the team that pores over every word in the paper and on its website. It was a bummer when she left — to move to Philadelphia — but we kept in touch, and I tried repeatedly to lure her back. During one of her return visits home, we met at Muddy Waters to talk about future employment. I was somewhat desperate at the time. The year before, my father and sister had died within six weeks of each other. Through both family crises, I kept working. We needed more editors.
    • Dec 25, 2019
  • Backstory: Stinkiest Assignment
  • Backstory: Stinkiest Assignment

    In February, I was reporting on the innards of Vermont's dairy industry — the bewildering matrix of humans, cows and economics from which those eight-ounce bars of Cabot cheddar mysteriously emerge. In an attempt to understand it all, I decided to spend a week at Vorsteveld Farm in Panton, a 1,300-cow operation that seemed to represent the inexorable scaling up of production that has changed the face of Vermont agriculture. To ensure the most immersive experience, my original plan had been to sleep in the workers' trailer, but the lack of spare furniture made that inadvisable. So I ended up commuting home to Burlington every night, a mindless 45-minute drive by day made incalculably dicier after a 12- or 13-hour stint in the milking parlor, by which point every imaginable farm odor — the rich smell of raw milk, hot from the udder; the nose-stinging iodine solution used to protect the teats, which was disconcertingly cold to the touch and looked like orange Kool-Aid; mind-boggling quantities of steaming manure — had penetrated my five layers of clothing.
    • Dec 25, 2019
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