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Monday, October 19, 2020

Seven Days Wins Five First-Place Awards in National Media Competitions

Posted on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 7:11 PM

Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent newsweekly, won four first-place awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia in a virtual ceremony on September 18. One of the winning entries, a joint project with Vermont Public Radio about Vermont’s state-licensed assisted living and residential care homes, received a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association on October 10.
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The AAN Awards recognize the most artful, compelling and courageous journalism produced each year by the alternative newsmedia. AAN member publications from cities like Austin, Chicago, Boston and Burlington compete against each other. This year’s contest included entries submitted by 55 publications in the U.S., Canada and Norway.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Seven Days and Vermont Public Radio Win 2020 National Edward R. Murrow Award For Investigative Reporting

Posted on Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 2:18 PM

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Vermont Public Radio and Seven Days have won a 2020 National Edward R. Murrow award for their 2019 series “Worse For Care,” a joint investigation into Vermont’s assisted living and residential care homes for the elderly. The award for Investigative Reporting in the Small Market Radio Division was presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association on October 10.

“It’s an honor to win for a collaborative journalism project that pulled together the best reporting, editing and data skills at our two organizations,” said Sarah Ashworth, VPR’s vice president of news. “By working together we were able to do something much larger in scale than we would have been able to do alone. It’s a good reminder that when two organizations set aside competitive pressures and work toward a common goal, we can have a big impact.”

VPR and Seven Days reporters obtained five and a half years’ worth of complaints and state inspections, detailed in thousands of pages of documents. The series revealed troubling patterns of inadequate care that led to dozens of injuries and indignities, and at least five deaths.

“Worse for Care” was produced by Emily Corwin and Mark Davis of VPR, and Derek Brouwer, Matthew Roy, Candace Page, Andrea Suozzo and James Buck of Seven Days. In addition to a series of print, digital and on-air stories over four weeks, the project included Vermont Elder Care Navigator, a searchable database at eldercare.sevendaysvt.com, built by Suozzo, Seven Days data editor, and populated by the project team.
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"This project was months in the making," said Seven Days news editor Matthew Roy. "In November 2018, both of our newsrooms reported that the State of Vermont had seized control of three eldercare facilities from an out-of-state owner after food shortages and financial problems. That's what prompted Andrea Suozzo to file our initial public records requests in January 2019. Unlike nursing homes, which are regulated by the federal government, Vermont's eldercare facilities are monitored by the state and the recordkeeping discourages public scrutiny. This series helped shed light on the cracks in the system, and made the state's inspection reports readily accessible. It also familiarized our newsrooms with these issues — knowledge that has helped us cover the coronavirus pandemic."

Since 1971, RTDNA has been honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards. Among the most prestigious in news, the Murrow Awards recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community. Murrow Award-winning work demonstrates the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession. A full list of 2020 award winners is available here.

In addition to the Murrow Award, “Worse For Care” won an Association of Alternative Newsmedia award — first place in the Innovation category. Find a full list of 2020 award winners here. 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; publications such as the Austin Chronicle, Chicago Reader and Seven Days compete against each other. This year’s competition consisted of entries submitted by 55 publications in the U.S., Canada and Norway.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of People in 25 Years

Posted on Fri, Sep 11, 2020 at 4:23 PM

Seven Days has found plenty of fascinating characters tucked away in these Green Mountains and valley s over the past 25 years. On the road less traveled, which inevitably turns to dirt, we’ve turned up a tornado chaser, two Vermont Supreme Court justices and the first female football coach in NCAA Division 1 history — at Dartmouth College. Almost all of them were eager to talk about their lives and work.

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One exception: Republican strategist Stuart Stevens resisted Seven Days for two years before finally agreeing to be profiled. In a 2017 cover story titled “GOP Refugee,” Paul Heintz wrote 5,000 words explaining the “Trump-bashing, ad-making, novel-writing adrenaline junkie” who worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign — and four other White House races. After the 2016 election, Stevens retreated to Vermont to “lick his wounds” and ponder his next moves.

Three years later, his Stowe home has become a film set for powerful television ads for the Lincoln Project, in which a former Navy SEAL calls out President Donald Trump for cowardice and worse. In his new book, It Was All a Lie, Stevens describes Trump as a “traitor.”

Political operatives, poets and professors. Entrepreneurs, attorneys and activists. When you read about a Vermonter in Seven Days, you get the full story of a life. Our reporters spend weeks researching and interviewing their subjects, and that includes speaking to other people, friends and foes, about them. Does a person’s background and experience predict their passions? Their successes and failures? Reading about others gets at the heart of human nature and, in the hands of a good writer, reveals something about ourselves.

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If you appreciate Seven Days’ in-depth profiles of Vermont people and can afford to help us financially, please become a Super Reader.

For the past 25 years, our local media company has depended almost entirely on advertising revenue from local enterprises to pay the bills. Since March, COVID-19 has severely challenged that business model.

To thrive for another 25, we need your help. Can you cover us?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Video: Seven Days Celebrates Its 25th Birthday With 'Pass it On'

Posted on Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 3:20 PM

For the past 25 years, our local media company has covered news, arts, music, food and culture in Vermont. To celebrate the milestone, we asked Seven Days staffers, local celebs and one lucky Super Reader to "pass it on" in this video by Eva Sollberger. It features lots of familiar faces and an original song from the Seven Days house band Enemy of the People.


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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of Food & Drink in 25 Years

Posted on Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 3:50 PM

Seven Days promoted eating local long before the term “locavore” became a thing. We wrote about Vermont food in the very first issue of the newspaper, on September 6, 1995. Three weeks later, it was on the cover. In a story headlined “Olive Me,” James Beard Award-winning chef and food writer Jim Dodge recommended more than a dozen local markets, from Ray’s Seafood and Healthy Living to Greg’s Meat Market and Settlement Farm.

July 12, 2006 - JO SCOTT | DON EGGERT
  • Jo Scott | Don Eggert
  • July 12, 2006
Although it sounds obvious now, his thesis was novel 25 years ago: “Tourists may know Vermont for its cheddar, maple syrup and Macs, but for those of us who live and shop here daily, the Burlington-Middlebury-Montpelier-Stowe area has become a trapezoidal treasure of special stores with special foods,” Dodge wrote. “Made-in-Vermont wholesomeness has met the ex-urbanite’s desire for diversity and the result is excellent eating.”

As the local food movement grew heftier, so did Seven Days. Our first food‑themed issue, in June 1996, was the biggest to that point: 40 pages. Among its dozen stories was our first creemee map of Vermont; another, titled “It’s a Wonderful Loaf,” naïvely asked: “Is artisanal bread here to stay?”

The twice-a-year food issues were also stuffed with restaurant news, the precursor to today’s popular Side Dishes column and Bite Club e-newsletter. In 2006, we hired our first full-time food writer, Suzanne Podhaizer. She filled five pages a week with stories about chefs, farmers, butchers and brewmasters, and also expertly assembled our then-new annual dining guide, 7 Nights.

By 2007, the quirky and boldly carnivorous Alice Levitt had begun contributing. Soon she was on staff and appearing weekly on WCAX-TV. Since then, at least two full-time food writers have juggled the busy food beat. Our current team — Melissa Pasanen, Jordan Barry and Sally Pollak — has rigorously covered the impact of the pandemic on Vermont’s restaurant industry and its local food producers.

Once again, the state’s signature culinary community and Seven Days are on a parallel path and, due to COVID-19, it’s a rocky one: Both face existential threats.

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If you appreciate our reporting on Vermont’s food, drink and farms and can afford to help us financially, please become a Seven Days Super Reader.

For the past 25 years, our local media company has depended almost entirely on advertising revenue from local enterprises to support our award-winning journalism. Since March, COVID-19 has severely challenged that business model.

To thrive for another 25, we need your help. Can you cover us?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of News in 25 Years

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 11:28 AM

Seven Days started out as a 28‑page arts paper; for the first five years, most of the bylines belonged to its culture-writing founders, Pamela Polston and Paula Routly. Soon, though, there were 80 to 120 pages to fill each week. Adding local news to the mix seemed like the next logical step.

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Seven Days hired its first staff writer, Ken Picard, in 2002. He started churning out news features, including the first exposé of Mexican farm laborers toiling in secret on Vermont dairy farms, published in June 2003. The next year we launched the “Local Matters,” section, located between Peter Freyne’s “Inside Track” column and the paper’s extensive arts coverage and comprehensive event listings. For decades Kevin J. Kelley, one of Seven Days’ most prolific freelancers, reliably contributed news stories and art reviews.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, the internet and websites like Craigslist had already begun to beat up daily newspapers. Vermont newsrooms contracted in response.

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did just the opposite. Knowing that responsible, fact-based journalism is essential to a functioning democracy, its owners decided instead to expand.

Today our news team is one of the largest in Vermont, made up of experienced local journalists — including three editors in the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame — as well as a rising generation of talented reporters, writers and multimedia storytellers. In recent years, this team has investigated Vermont’s nonprofit economy, the opioid epidemic, sexual misconduct in Vermont prisons and neglect in eldercare facilities. Another frequent topic: the state of local media.

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If you appreciate Seven Days’ in-depth news coverage and can afford to help us financially, please become a Seven Days Super Reader. Your recurring donation will provide a reliable revenue stream to help fund the award-winning journalism we continue to provide during these challenging times.

For the past 25 years, our local media company has depended almost entirely on advertising revenue from local retailers and events to pay the bills. Since March, COVID-19 has severely challenged that business model.

To thrive for another 25, we need your help. Can you cover us?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of Politics in 25 Years

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2020 at 7:50 PM

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Seven Days has been writing about Vermont politics — with color, verve and insight — since columnist Peter Freyne joined our team in the fall of 1995. His first “Inside Track” for the paper combined a takedown of side judge and “political spin doctor” Althea Kroger with an update on South Burlington’s efforts to shut down a strip club on Williston Road.

Freyne wrote about politics in a way that made it understandable and entertaining. He asked the questions no other reporter would. Even U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, with whom Freyne had a complicated relationship, found kind words for him when he died on January 7, 2009.

But the truth is: Many of Freyne's columns would not have passed muster with our current team of news editors. Over the years Seven Days' political coverage has become increasingly rigorous and thorough. Paul Heintz's first cover story was a smart, even-handed analysis of Burlington's 2012 mayoral race among Kurt Wright, Miro Weinberger and Wanda Hines; more recently, he delivered an in-depth, remarkably suspenseful look at how Gov. Phil Scott handled the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. In the years between, he traveled all over the country covering Sanders' historic, back-to-back presidential runs.

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If you appreciate Seven Days’ political coverage — from Peter Freyne to Paul Heintz — and can afford to help us financially, please become a Seven Days Super Reader. Your recurring donation will provide a reliable revenue stream to help fund the award-winning journalism we continue to provide during these challenging times.

For the past 25 years, our local media company has depended almost entirely on advertising revenue from local retailers and events to pay the bills. Since March, COVID-19 has severely challenged that business model.

To thrive for another 25, we need your help. Can you cover us?

Monday, August 10, 2020

Slideshow: We've Covered a Lot of Arts in 25 Years

Posted on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 11:33 AM

This summer, Seven Days assistant arts editor Dan Bolles was working on a cover story about Vermont banjo legend Gordon Stone in anticipation of the musician’s long-awaited anthology double album, set to be released this month. Banjo fans saw Stone as a stylistic trailblazer who ranged from bluegrass to rock and jazz to world music. Local friends and fellow musicians knew he was also a troubled soul who struggled with addiction.

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Stone had been speaking with Bolles about both aspects of his life when the musician died tragically on July 10 — and the profile became an obituary. In this week’s Seven Days, Bolles pays tribute to a complex character who “understood that his musical legacy was important. But he also knew that the pain he’d caused to others was another kind of legacy.”

The connection of creativity and humanity is on display in every corner of Vermont. From day one, Seven Days has kept readers informed about local music, movies, books, theater, dance and visual art. A vital community resource, it’s also covered Vermont news, people, presidential campaigns and, most recently, a pandemic.

For the past 25 years, our local media company has depended almost entirely on advertising revenue from local enterprises to pay the bills. Since March, COVID-19 has severely challenged that business model.

To thrive for another 25, we need your help.

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If you appreciate our work and can afford to help us financially, please become a Seven Days Super Reader. Your recurring donation will provide a reliable revenue stream to help fund our award-winning journalism.

Can you cover us?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Seven Days Releases Primary Voters’ Guide in Advance of August 11 Election

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 5:23 PM

MARC NADEL
  • Marc Nadel
Burlington-based Seven Days newspaper has compiled a 24-page primary  voters’ guide; the special pull-out section is in the center of the July 22 issue that is on the streets.

The guide includes:
“This election season is unlike any we’ve ever experienced,” said Deputy Publisher Cathy Resmer. “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, voters have had fewer opportunities to get to know their candidates. And Vermonters have requested a record number of absentee ballots — more than 117,000 as of yesterday. It’s imperative that voters understand how the process works so they can be sure their votes will count.”

That’s why Seven Days created the Pandemic Primary Voters’ Guide, the paper’s first-ever election special section.

“It’s a natural extension of what we already do,” said Resmer. “Our reporters cover elections and legislative issues, and help Vermonters understand what’s happening in their communities.”

This is a critical time for news organizations to step up their efforts if they can, she added. “It’s easier than it’s ever been to create and share false and misleading information online, especially through social media. Seven Days has editors and fact checkers proofreading and verifying the information we publish — and an award-winning design team that makes it visually appealing. That’s what sets us apart.”

“Voters need access to trusted local journalism,” she said. “Our democracy depends on it.”

Pick up the guide before July 29 at locations throughout northern and central Vermont, or find it online at sevendaysvt.com/pandemic-primary.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Seven Days Launches the Register, a Guide to Shopping Locally Online

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 9:18 AM

JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
On Monday, May 11, Gov. Phil Scott announced that retail stores may reopen with capacity limits on Monday, May 18. This news comes after Vermont merchants were mandated to close storefronts during the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses reopen their doors to the public, they’ll have to adopt new safety precautions and evolve traditional business practices.

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With everyone taking different approaches — because one size does not fit all — how can shoppers find what they need locally? Seven Days has created the Register to help answer that question.

The Register is a directory of Vermont businesses that provide shipping, delivery or curbside pickup of their products. The initial list is primarily focused on small, locally owned retailers in Burlington, with plans to expand to other regions of the state. Shoppers can browse by categories ranging from jewelry to electronics, outdoor gear to apparel.

“The goal is to provide a convenient local alternative to Amazon, to keep Vermont dollars here,” said Seven Days publisher and coeditor Paula Routly. “Jeff Bezos is never going to sponsor the Discover Jazz Festival or the Vermont City Marathon. By going to the Register, and buying local online, shoppers are choosing to invest in their communities now and into the future.”

To view the guide, visit shoptheregister.com. Got an update for an existing listing? Don’t see your business on the list? Contact us at theregister@sevendaysvt.com.

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