Daily Archives: May 23, 2022

This Needed to Happen

Landmark moment in Vermont journalism: VTDigger founder Anne Galloway is stepping out of her leadership role and back into reporting. Her new title, editor-at-large, seems to offer her a great deal of freedom to work on big projects. You know, the kind of stuff that goes undone amidst the daily bustle of shoestring journalism.

Something like this needed to happen. It should have happened years ago, but I’m more than a little surprised it happened at all. It takes a rare clarity of vision to realize that the organization you brought into being has outgrown you.

VTDigger would not exist without Galloway’s dogged determination, without her burning the morning-to-midnight oil and probably risking her health, mental and otherwise. As it slowly grew, its internal structure didn’t develop accordingly. That’s because Galloway was still working as if she was head of a tiny, struggling startup. She was chief editor. She was the head of the entire enterprise. She was the public face of VTDigger. And, when she felt the call, she dove back into the foxhole of reporting.

It was too much for any person, and it inhibited Digger’s growth into a sustainable institution with a consistent management structure. Now it seems that that push has finally come to shove, and Galloway had to choose which role/s she wanted to keep and which she was willing to let go of.

Necessary disclosure: I worked for Galloway for a few months in 2020. She fired me under dubious circumstances. But I haven’t changed my view of VTDigger as an organization. I saw it the same way before I signed on, while I worked there, and after my defenestration. Before, during and after, it was an organization in need of transition with a leader who was deeply ambivalent about letting it happen.

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This Is Your Time

There is a serious shortage of political talent in Vermont this year. It’s a consequence of an historic turnover in statewide offices and the Legislature. Lots and lots of campaigns, all with a variety of roles to fill. Some paid, mostly volunteer.

So. If you want to make your voice heard, this is your time. Got a candidate you like? Get in touch with them and ask what you can do. Perform well, and you’ll earn the candidate’s trust. You’ll be part of their team.

Right now is the best time to step forward. Many legislative districts are heavily Democratic or Republican (and in a few cases, Progressive). In those places, the key contest is the August primary. If there’s a competitive primary in a strongly blue or red district, get in there and work for the candidate you prefer. You’ll be in on the ground floor. You’ll get to know likeminded people. You’ll feel like you have a stake, an influence, in our politics.

“Feel” nothing; you will have influence.

It doesn’t take much. A few hours a week will be a godsend.

You may be wondering if you have any applicable skills. Believe me, you do.

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