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December 2008

December 09, 2008

Wanted: Writers Who Can Work On the Web

At the Vermont 3.0 Creative/Tech Career Jam back in October, I moderated a panel called "So, You Wanna Write for the Web?" Our panelists included Washington Monthly blogger Steve Benen, EatingWell Media Group Digital Producer Penelope Wall and St. Mike's journalism prof Marybeth Redmond.

The questions we got from the audience were all over the map. One woman wanted to know how to copyright and protect her work on the web. Someone else wanted to know how to find online outlets that will pay for freelance writing.

One of the best questions (if memory serves) came from a woman who wanted to know what other kinds of full-time jobs are out there for writers — if there aren't any newspaper jobs, and there aren't any grant-writing jobs, and there aren't any PR jobs, what can you do? Where should you send your resume?

Here's a belated answer — apply here. I spotted this employment ad as I walked by the proofs for this week's paper; they're lying on the floor in our office. This is from an ad for a Web Content Adminstrator:

BioTek Instruments, Inc. is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high performance, microplate based, life science instrumentation and software used to accelerate drug discovery and aid in the advancement of life science research. We are seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated individual to join our Marketing Communications team as a Web Content Administrator.

The successful candidate will be responsible for maintaining dynamic content on BioTek's global websites and will work with international staff to ensure up-to-date content in multiple languages. This person will be responsible for soliciting information from various sources to ensure fresh and current content throughout the site. Other duties include the coordination and development of monthly distributor e-newsletters, database maintenance, and assisting the Web marketing team with other projects as required.

Don't have the skills to be a Web Content Administrator? Read a book. Take a class. Subscribe to an e-newsletter. Teach yourself to use Constant Contact or SoundSlides. Volunteer to help a non-profit or a small business refine their online marketing strategy and learn as you go. It's much, much harder to learn how to write well than it is to adapt your skills to this new environment.

Of course, you also have to adapt to being in marketing rather than being a journalist, but hey, if that's what it takes to pay the bills...

December 08, 2008

Inside Seven Days

Inside_seven_days Ever wondered where we get our story ideas here at Seven Days? Want to hear the stories behind the stories you read in our august, free publication? Then check out "Inside Seven Days," the weekly video series featuring Seven Days writers — filmed and edited by the crew at RETN, Channel 16.

The short video segments air on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on Channel 16. They're also archived on the RETN website. Last week, political columnist Shay Totten previewed the Prog-Dem Forum we held last week. The week before, staffer Ken Picard described the controversy over the "Love" and "Primo" lines of Burton snowboards.

And way, way back in September, I spoke to a camera crew, in a segment that was supposed to be an introduction to the series. Don't watch that one. We were still trying to figure out how it was going to work. The other ones are interesting, though.

Seven Days videographer Eva Sollberger filmed the intro to the series. Music by Rue Mevlana, from "Tight Core Snuggin'." Thanks, Nathan! You rock.

It's Cold Out There!

This morning when I started the car, the dashboard thermometer read 3 degrees. Then the VPR Eye on the Sky report said some spots in the Adirondacks registered in the teens — below zero. Yikes!

Here's a 3-and-a-half-minute video I found that shows the snow that blew in yesterday — made by a guy who has a site called Vermont Means Business.

December 06, 2008

Recipe: Winter Market Pasta

Imarket_shopper1 While working on the Bite Club TV episode about Winter Farmers' Market (see photo), I couldn't resist actually buying a bunch of the great products the vendors had on display. I made this when I got home that evening.  For all you localvores, I'm guessing this includes 98% Vermont ingredients — I've listed the vendors from whom I purchased my supplies. By the way, my recipes are vague because I'm not big on measuring, sorry!

Fresh Pasta with Pork and 'Kraut

2 T. butter (Lakes End Cheeses)
2 shallots, diced (Lots of folks have 'em)
1 pound ground pork (Maple Wind Farm)
Salt and pepper
1 c. sauerkraut (Arethusa)
1/2 pound fresh pasta (Savage Garden)
Ground nutmeg

Continue reading "Recipe: Winter Market Pasta " »

December 05, 2008

The Cuts Continue in the Free Press Newsroom

As readers know from our previous Blurt post, it's been a rough week for the Vermont media, including Seven Days. Here's an update on cuts at the Burlington Free Press...

The Free Press has laid off 14 employees; nine forced layoffs and five vacant positions that will be left unfilled — a six percent cut in staff. The paper has fared far better than some in their Gannett family chain of newspapers. One paper in Salinas, Calif. saw one-third of its 130 employees laid off.

To date, Gannett Blog has tallied close to 2,000 layoffs nationwide out of a newspaper division that employs 30,000.

In all, four people in this round were let go from the newsroom. The first let go on Wednesday were Rob Eley, a longtime editor, and Myra-Mathis Flynn, a features reporter. Then, yesterday, the paper let go Donna Myers who held a variety of support roles in the newsroom — from answering phones to taking down obituaries over the phone (back when such a task was required). She also wrote a religion feature for a services page the paper ran. Also laid off was Eva DeVries, the letters to the editor clerk for the paper.

A tough week for everyone who knew and worked with these folks at the Free Press (including myself).

Other than the four mentioned here, the newsroom will also lose two unfilled positions — a business reporter and the assistant managing editor post.

The remaining layoffs and vacancy savings have been spread out across several other departments, including sales and circulation.

Scuttlebutt is that there are no more immediate layoffs in store for the newsroom, so reporters and editors are breathing a temporary sigh of relief. But, sources say, more cuts at Gannett may be in the offing come February.

Can Man and Beaver Just Get Along?

300pxbeaver Last Friday, the Burlington Free Press ran a story about some "culvert-clogging" beavers in Essex. Apparently, the little critters built a dam that has flooded part of a trail at Indian Brook Park, and town officials have decided to kill 'em.

Local animal rights activists have organized a letter-writing campaign to help save the beavers. "Dear Humane Friends," begins an email explaining the cause, "As you may know from the previous alert, beavers in Essex, VT are to be killed because they caused a trail to flood in Indian Brook Park. This decision has already been made, the trapper has been hired, and traps are already in the water!! The beavers need our help now to stop the trapping and the killing! Please send a Letter to the Editor opposing this cruelty!"

As a results, Seven Days has been, er, flooded, with letters urging Essex officials to save the beavers. Unfortunately, we have a policy of not printing letters that aren't responding to content in our paper or on our website. Since we haven't written about these little guys, we won't be running the letters. Sorry!

Instead, we thought we'd share a few of them with you on our blog. Lindsey Deon writes:

I would like to express my concern for the beavers in Essex. I would also like to ask the Select Board to reconsider their decision to kill the beavers and look at other options so that both man and the beavers can exist together. I just don’t think it is right to destroy these beavers just because they have created a problem.

Continue reading the post to learn about more humane solutions to this dam problem, including "Beaver Bafflers" and "Beaver Deceivers."

Continue reading "Can Man and Beaver Just Get Along?" »

Blinded by the Light

Img_2089_2 Judy and Andrew find another use for the versatile Post-It Note...

New Food Video Series

For a while now, we've been thinking it would be fun to make a series of food-related videos. Our first "Bite Club TV" episode, filmed at the new Winter Farmers' Market in Burlington, was released this Wednesday. In it, I see if I can find everything on my shopping list. Meanwhile, food writer Alice Levitt eats everything in sight.

This didn't make it into the video, but even I — a CSA-havin', Farmers' Market shoppin' foodie — was surprised at the wide range of products at this market. A few of the most unusual were French-Canadian meat pies, fresh pasta and handmade butter. I can't wait until the next one...

Click here for more info about the 7 Nights Bite Club.

Vermont in the New York Times

Nytlogo379x64 They just love us over there this week.

Check out this paean to skiing in Vermont in today's NYT travel section.

Here's a story from Wednesday about how Middlebury College kids are helping Starksboro residents with their town plan.

And here's another item from Wednesday — former Vermonter Dwight Garner reviews Bolton cartoonist Alison Bechdel's new Dykes to Watch Out For anthology. Here's a snazzy little sampler of the strips on their website.

Prog-Dem Forum Post-Mortem

Homeprogdem_2 I hope people found our liveblog useful last night. It was admittedly really tough to deliver the substance of the conversations, both because it's hard to type that fast, and because you sort of had to have a certain level of historical knowledge about Prog-Dem relations to follow along.

Terri Hallenbeck did a good job of delivering bite sized blog posts over at the Freeps blog, VT Buzz.

If you want to see the whole conversation for yourself, it'll be available on Channel 17 next week. They'll air it on TV, and put it up on their website.

And I'm betting that Shay will have some thoughts to share, too.

Thanks to everyone who helped organize it, and who attended.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

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