What ought to be the most coveted perch in Vermont journalism is once again vacant. After a mere four months on the job, Mark Johnson has relinquished the Peter Freyne Chair in Instigative Journalism, d/b/a the “Fair Game” column in Seven Days.
One could be forgiven for wondering if this position doesn’t have a curse attached to it. Johnson’s predecessor, Dave Gram, lasted only five months. The guy before him was rather spectacularly fired after 2 1/2 years on the job.
That would be me.
My predecessor Paul Heintz held the job for almost five years. Otherwise, what ought to be the most coveted perch in Vermont journalism has been a revolving door with only one consistent thread: We’ve all been white males.
It’s time for a change, and not just in race and gender expression. Not that anyone at Seven Days is likely to heed my advice, but hey, I’ve had first-hand experience with the ups and downs of the job, and I do have some hard-earned insight.
First of all, I’d definitely keep the column. It’s the heart and soul of the paper, and it occupies a unique and valuable position in the Vermont media landscape.
Otherwise, the Powers That Be need to not only think outside the box; they need to stomp the box flat and toss it in recycling.Continue reading