From the Publisher: College Try | From the Publisher | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

From the Publisher: College Try 

Published August 19, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated September 8, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

click to enlarge 1995 - COURTESY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Courtesy ©️ Seven Days
  • 1995

In retrospect, September 6, 1995, was a pretty good time to start a newspaper. It was pre-internet, and Vermont had already been without the Vanguard Press for five years — long enough for readers to appreciate the vital role an "alternative weekly" could play: covering disenfranchised populations, local arts and food, and, of course, the mainstream media.

It was the right time of year, too — a busy fall performing arts season would transition nicely to events and business around the holidays. After losing our journalism jobs in mid-July, Pamela Polston and I spent six whirlwind weeks writing a business plan, raising capital, selling ads, finding office space and equipment, and hiring people. Once Seven Days was ready to launch, the two of us set out to report and write content for the inaugural issue. The theme: back to school.

Despite a hideous cover, the paper contained a pretty good mix of stories: Political columnist Peter Freyne shocked readers with a first-person piece about his time in a seminary, training to be a priest; English professor Phil Baruth, now a state senator, contributed an excerpt from his Burlington-inspired book, The Dream of the White Village. I profiled Henry Chauncey, the man who invented the Scholastic Aptitude Test, who was then a resident at Wake Robin in Shelburne.

There was even a food piece — a pizza survey — that perfectly served the purposes of our hungry, hardworking staff. Leonardo's came out on top, by the way, and remains our go-to brand for election nights at the office.

The next day we started all over again. As our oldest joke goes: Maybe if we'd called it "Five Days" we wouldn't be working seven days a week.

click to enlarge 2020 - COURTESY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Courtesy ©️ Seven Days
  • 2020

Still are, 25 years later, but the back-to-school stories have certainly changed. Instead of riffing on funny class names in local course catalogs, we're reporting about testing protocols and quarantine strategies. In this week's cover story, Derek Brouwer explores the lengths to which Vermont colleges are going to safely accommodate students. Delivering education has always been a challenge, but not like this.

College brought me to Vermont and, like many of my classmates, I stayed. I loved the landscape and the way people took care of each other. Community was not something we really had in suburban Maryland. Here, it seemed, was a place where people learned from the mistakes of the rest of the country — and worked hard to preserve what was good. I was in.

Many Seven Days staffers, including a few of our next-generation owners, tell similar stories. Enticing students to get to know Vermont, love it like we do, and maybe stick around has always been part of Seven Days' strategy.

Pre-pandemic, we published an annual newcomers' guide to Burlington, called What's Good, and hosted the Vermont Tech Jam, a career and tech expo. This fall we're brainstorming ways to give the current crop of students a glimpse of life beyond the ivory tower.

We hope the first lesson they'll learn is that Vermonters look out for one another. There's a reason the state's COVID-19 rates are the lowest in the nation, and we'd like to keep it that way, thank you.

So, welcome to Vermont, students. And please be responsible.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Paula Routly

Paula Routly

Paula Routly came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College. After graduation, she stayed and worked as a dance critic, arts writer, news reporter and editor before she started Seven Days newspaper with Pamela Polston in 1995. Routly covered arts news, then food, and, starting in 2008, focused her editorial energies on building the news side of the operation, for which she is a regular weekly editor. She conceptualized and managed the “Give and Take” special report on Vermont’s nonprofit sector, the “Our Towns” special issue and the yearlong “Hooked” series exploring Vermont’s opioid crisis. When she’s not editing stories, Routly runs the business side of Seven Days — overseeing finances, management and product development. She spearheaded the creation of the newspaper’s numerous ancillary publications and events such as Restaurant Week and the Vermont Tech Jam. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Category

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation