From the Publisher: Extra, Extra! Effort | From the Publisher | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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From the Publisher: Extra, Extra! Effort 

Published April 22, 2020 at 9:49 a.m.

click to enlarge Circulation deputy Jeff Baron testing out a DIY bike trailer prototype - REV. DIANE SULLIVAN
  • Rev. Diane Sullivan
  • Circulation deputy Jeff Baron testing out a DIY bike trailer prototype

Almost every aspect of producing a newspaper has changed since September 6, 1995 — the publication date of the inaugural Seven Days.

With a laptop and a smartphone, journalists can report stories from anywhere. Editing, designing and sending the paper to the printer requires software that didn't exist in the '90s. Also nonexistent back then: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Trello, Slack and Airtable, which all enable our staff to collaborate remotely during the pandemic.

There's just one department that still operates as it did 25 years ago: circulation. Every Wednesday morning, a truck loaded with freshly printed papers — that has traveled through the wee hours — pulls up to the loading dock behind our building. A team of drivers meets it; loads up their cars, trucks and vans with bundles of papers; then departs to deliver Seven Days to far-flung corners of Vermont.

Sure, they're wearing masks and gloves and packing locally made hand sanitizer these days, but the job itself hasn't changed much.

People's habits have, though. The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered many of our pickup spots, and trips to the grocery store are more stressful. Some people shop only once every few weeks and might miss an issue or two. The entire paper — ads and all — is available in digital form, but many readers find having a print copy reassuring during this historic time.

So last week, after our usual Wednesday deliveries, we tried something new — er, old. On Saturday, circulation deputy Jeff Baron borrowed a bike and a trailer from Burlington's Old Spokes Home, loaded it up with stacks of Seven Days and hit the streets of the Queen City.

Art director Diane Sullivan rode behind him on a BMX bike with a Bluetooth speaker blasting the Clash's "London Calling." Bringing the papers to the people!

Starting this week, Seven Days staffers will visit neighborhoods in Burlington and Winooski — à la the August First bread bike — on some Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, weather permitting. Look for the "route of the day" on the Seven Days Facebook page and Instagram Live.

click to enlarge A neighborhood rack on Lakeview Terrace - PAULA ROUTLY
  • Paula Routly
  • A neighborhood rack on Lakeview Terrace

We've also added some new neighborhood drop spots. A number of employees — and some former ones — have put Seven Days racks in their front yards.

Some readers have even volunteered to take actual paper routes, showing off their folding and tossing techniques. We're looking into that, too.

Whatever it takes.

Read on,
Paula Routly

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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.

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