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.