Movin’ on up

Got some news — about myself, this time.

In early December, I’ll be joining the staff of Seven Days as political columnist. I’ll be writing Web content for the first month; after the New Year, I’ll take on “Fair Game,” the paper’s weekly political column.

Rest assured, I did not depose Paul Heintz in a palace coup. In fact, they approached me, because Paul wants to be a full-time editor and reporter. (He’ll tell you more himself in this week’s column.) In fact, my hiring is one of several additions to the news staff at Seven Days. They’re building quite an operation, and I’m glad to be part of it. Check out Paul’s column online or in today’s print edition for more.

The bad news: once I join the 7D staff I won’t be writing The Vermont Political Observer anymore. They want my full energy and attention. Plus, it’d be weird to do political commentary in two places at once.

And they want me to do pretty much what I do now. They appreciate my voice and my writing skill.

It will mean changes. I’ll be applying some journalistic rigor to my analysis and commentary, covering events and seeking input from those involved. I’ll be earning a salary, so I’ll have the time and resources to make calls, do research, attend press conferences, hang around the Statehouse, and get to know the relevant players. I haven’t been able to do those things as an unpaid blogger with other stuff on my plate.

Does this mean I’ll be pulling in my horns, or shaving them off? I don’t think so. I will have to do more research and listen to all sides instead of just observing and writing, but that should only improve the product.

There is a bit of trepidation, but a lot more optimism. This will be a chance to take what I do best, do it even better, and hold up my end of the family finances. And more people will see my work.

It’ll also be a chance to join a company I respect greatly. Unlike most free weeklies, Seven Days is investing resources back into the product. It is the only for-profit print outlet in Vermont that is growing instead of withering away.

And good grief, to occupy the space first established by the late great Peter Freyne. What an honor. I can’t think of a better job in Vermont media.

Not that I’m going to be Freyne. Each of Seven Days’ four political columnists (Freyne, Shay Totten, Andy Bromage, and Heintz) has brought different skills and inclinations to the job. Each has done admirable work. I won’t be trying to fill anyone’s shoes; I merely hope to maintain the quality and the appeal of “Fair Game.”

I’ll be writing here for a couple more weeks, so don’t delete that bookmark just yet.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with theVPO. This blog was launched in June 2014. It quickly attracted a small but committed readership, which has consistently grown over time. It’s had a modest but definite impact on our political discourse. It’s gone farther, and gotten bigger, than I could have expected.

And now, it’s launched me into a new and exciting phase of my long strange career.

There will be a proper farewell when the move takes effect. Until then, I’ll keep on blogging. Without fear or favor.

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34 thoughts on “Movin’ on up

  1. ApacheTrout

    Congratulations! Continue to hold fire to those in power, including the ones in the so-called 4th Estate. Demand excellence and honesty of others and yourself. I look forward to reading your columns at Seven Days.

    Reply
  2. eddo

    Congrats! Although those that followed Peter at 7 Days wrote competent insider-type
    pieces, none of them had his biting curmudgeon wit. Maybe that will change now.

    Reply
  3. Jane Stein

    Congratulations, John. Really good news for you and for Seven Days. Any idea how often you’ll be writing? On a regular schedule or as the spirit moves or what?

    Reply
  4. Dave Pardo

    It’s good news all the way around: you will have wider distribution, a Vermont based print publication shows growth, and Paul Heinz gets to try new things. Question: what has been your “for pay” profession while doing the blog? You showed insights and skills that were impressive both to readers and professionals. Congratulations that it was recognized.

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      My “for pay” occupation was a little bit freelance writing and a lot of housework. I am blessed by having an understanding spouse who works in a virtually recession-proof field. But I’ll be happy and a bit relieved to carry part of the financial load again.

      Reply
  5. Albert Benson

    Congratulations! As a new reader I arrived at the mention of your blog in 7days. I look forward to you having more resources and will miss checking in daily for new content.

    Reply
  6. John Bauer

    Aye, that’s green news John and well deserved. I’m so glad you will now reach a much wider audience. You are perceptive and concise. Congratulations!

    Best, John

    >

    Reply
  7. Rita Pitkin

    Congratulations John. I’m so happy I found your blog a year ago and will miss it. Hope the 7Days gig works well for you and us!

    Reply
  8. Sen. Joe Benning

    Well, the sparring was fun while it lasted. For that reason I’m sorry to see VPO disappearing into the sunset. As for your new job, it will be interesting to see how you handle moving into a job where you at least have to pretend to be unbiased. I’m sure your “acerbic wit” will still come through. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Reply
  9. Bud

    I was happy to see the mention of Fryne. He set the bar. Always managed to somehow be there to ask the question and get the quote. Good luck.

    Reply
  10. Dave G.

    So are you now beholden to editors and having to press the flesh daily at the Dome and play nice? I don’t know Mr. Walters. Good luck. Enjoyed your blog.

    Reply
  11. Brooke Paige

    John,

    I have always called you as my guilty (left of center) pleasure. While we rarely agreed, I thought of us as acquaintances with Nerf bats in hand – ready to give the another a little whack when we wondered too far off the trail.

    Look forward to following you on 7days, though I suspect we will you will no longer be able to “come out and play !”

    Congratulations and Best Wishes,

    Brooke

    Your New Theme Song !

    Well, we’re movin’ on up
    To the east side
    To a deluxe apartment in the sky
    Movin’ on up
    To the east side
    We finally got a piece of the pie

    Fish don’t fry in the kitchen
    Beans don’t burn on the grill
    Took a whole lot-a- tryin’
    Just to get up that hill
    Now we’re up in the big leagues
    Gettin’ our turn at bat
    As long as we live, it’s you and me baby
    There ain’t nothin’ wrong with that

    Well, we’re movin’ on up
    To the east side
    To a deluxe apartment in the sky
    Movin’ on up
    To the east side
    We finally got a piece of the p-I-e !

    Reply
  12. Kim Greenwood

    This is excellent news. A hearty congratulations to you, John. You’ll bring a lot to SevenDays and we wish you the very best.

    Reply

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