A Valley News Publication

Catch me at the “Tech Jobs in Journalism” panel at Vermont Tech Jam in Essex Junction, Vt., on Friday afternoon

Seven Days’ Cathy Resmer will be moderating the panel with four people whose jobs didn’t exist 10 years: Phayvanh Luekhamhan, director of business development, finance and administration at VTDigger; VPR reporter Liam Elder-Connors; Seven Days digital editor Andrea Suozzo; and yours truly, Valley News web editor and UV INDEX sandwich expert.

Here’s the description:

Vermont’s media outlets still employ reporters and editors, but they also need data crunchers, podcast editors, online community managers and web video producers. In this panel discussion, staffers from some of the state’s largest and most innovative media outlets explain what they do, where they learned to do it, and how they keep up with whatever’s next.

It’s all free! We’re in Room A at 3:30 p.m. Check out the rest of the lineup at the Vermont Tech Jam website.

It me.

Video: Kiah Morris: ‘I cannot speak my truth in the way that needs to have been said’

The Associated Press posted this video last week, when we were on hiatus, so we are sharing it now. Kiah Morris, Vermont’s first black female legislator, stepped down earlier this year:

After she won the Democratic primary for re-election to the state Legislature in 2016, someone tweeted a cartoon caricature of a black person at her, along with a vulgar phrase rendered in ebonics. The tweeter threatened to come to rallies and stalk her, Morris said. She won a protective order against him but once that expired, the harassment continued, she said.


The harassment escalated into a break-in while the family was home, vandalism and death threats seen by her young son. Even after she announced she wouldn’t seek re-election, despite running unopposed, a group of youths pounded on her windows and doors at night, forcing her and her husband, convalescing after heart surgery, to leave town.


Finally, in late September, she resigned.

Read the full story here.

In this Oct. 3, 2018, photograph, Kiah Morris, a former Vermont state representative, discusses threats and harassment she’s faced, during an interview in Bennington, Vt. Morris, the only black woman in the Vermont legislature, has resigned. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

In August, Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist, who is transgender, said she was getting a steady stream of death threats. And in recent days, reports have emerged that Vermont State Police are investigating a letter that threatened physical and sexual violence against a female Republican candidate from Colchester for the Vermont House of Representatives.


From leaf to shining leaf: A foliage film shot from Colorado to New England

New England, including the Twin States and a sunrise over New York, starts at 2:54. Can you recognize the Upper Valley locations in New London and Enfield, and just outside our coverage area in Reading, Vt.?

Shot by Ian Avery-Leaf (but I mean, really, “Leaf” ? ? ? ?) and posted around this time last year. “Although I didn’t catch peak foliage no matter how hard I chased it,” he wrote, “I found the pre-peak early changers, and the post-peak trees barely hanging onto summer, to be just as beautiful.”

Poynter publishes a reader’s guide to falsehoods about the Kavanaugh hearings

Via Poynter:

In the weeks leading up to Kavanaugh’s confirmation this week, which senators are expected to vote on this morning, fact-checking projects like The Washington Post Fact Checker and Snopes started debunking viral social media rumors about Kavanaugh, Ford and sexual assault. Journalists at outlets like The New York Times, which recently launched an anti-misinformation project, and BuzzFeed News also documented wide-reaching hoaxes.


“Our emphasis in covering the hearings is giving readers clarity and context about what they’re seeing and hearing,” said Angie Holan, editor of (Poynter-owned) PolitiFact in a message. “It’s an important moment in the confirmation process, but we can’t assume that all readers are familiar with the issues or process.”


Still, the hearings have proved to be a little harder to fact-check than the traditional political event. And that’s because there’s still a lot that journalists don’t know, Holan said.

Click here to read the full piece with links to fact-checking projects.


Christine Blasey Ford, seated, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, September 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill. (Melina Mara /The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

If Dr. Ford’s testimony has stirred up painful memories, the LA Times has this list of resources

Speaking of tips for weathering a news cycle hell storm, the Los Angeles Times has put together a list of resources in the case that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony stirred up painful memories.

Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)

Margaret Sullivan’s tips on how to stay “slightly” sane when the news cycle is a hell storm

Margaret Sullivan, of The Washington Post, published this column on Monday, headlined “How to stay (slightly) sane this week: A user’s guide to the media maelstrom ahead.”

I pulled it off our news wire just now because I feel like, A, a lot of these tips are evergreen, and B, a few of them might be pertinent during the Kavanaugh hearings today.

The points I want to underscore: It’s totally legit not to take in difficult live news all at once, moment by moment, blow by blow. You can read about it later when it’s all been digested into a coherent article or two or three (or, if that’s too traumatic for you, never! for some people, never is fine, too!).

Another tip I have: Turn off previews on your notifications! It’s easier then going into each app one at a time and turning off notifications all together. (I learned this when news outlets kept blowing surprises for me when I was watching the Olympics *shakes fist in air*.)

Turning off previews on your notifications may help you stay (slightly) sane.

Anyway, here’s Margaret Sullivan’s piece:

How to stay (slightly) sane this week: A user’s guide to the media maelstrom ahead


Sept. 24, 2018

On Friday morning — which already feels like a month ago — Washington Post White House reporter Seung Min Kim posted an exhausted sigh of relief on Twitter: “Well. We at least made it to Friday, everyone.”

The universe seemed to read that like a dare. It reared up in anger and hurled blazing fireballs of news.

Within a few hours, the New York Times had posted a blockbuster story that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein suggested last year that President Trump should be secretly recorded, and that the 25th Amendment might be explored to remove him from office.

And Washington once again was in a froth. There would be no weekend.

No sooner had that been processed — challenged, defended, disparaged, celebrated — then the news arrived that a date had been set for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Then, on Sunday evening, the New Yorker dropped a shocker about a second allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. All hell broke loose again.

With the Kavanaugh hearings — and possibly a collective nervous breakdown — approaching like a Category 4 hurricane, I humbly offer a media user’s guide to the week ahead, with a little help from my media-desk colleagues Paul Farhi and Sarah Ellison.

Here’s what you can do to keep the insanity to a dull roar.

  • Consider actually reading that story before you share it on social media. It’s astonishingly common to see a story hit Twitter and see it retweeted with outraged commentary even before it could possibly be digested. Headlines are only a hint, after all, and the fine print in the 19th paragraph may change your mind about what you think, or what you say to your Facebook friends in your next blistering post.
  • Know your source. When you see the names Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow — two of the most careful, disciplined reporters in America, it’s reasonable to take them seriously. (Although even with reporters of this caliber, it’s important not to overstate what their New Yorker story really says and to pay close attention to what it doesn’t say.) When you see declarations from Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’s attorney, about representing a third Kavanaugh accuser — without naming names or providing details — doubtful hesitation is in order.
  • Trust the stories you like less than those you want to believe. At the very least, it’s a good exercise in critical thinking to employ extreme skepticism to fight the confirmation bias we’re all guilty of. Seek out reaction and commentary from the other side of the situation; you don’t have to believe it, but you ought to consider it.
  • Wait and see. Know that cable news anchors — and all who deliver breaking news — may be scrambling in the first hours of a development. On Sunday night, CNN’s Ana Cabrera — grappling with the just-dropped New Yorker story, seemed never to have heard of the estimable Mayer, whom she referred to as Farrow’s co-author before consulting her notes and then mispronouncing her name. CNN’s Brian Stelter took pains in his Sunday-night newsletter to backtrack on something he had said spontaneously on air earlier: That “frat boy” behavior is forgivable. (He clarified to say that’s not true when it allegedly involves sexual assault.)
  • Know who is paid to say what on cable. Remember that cable commenters — particularly Trump surrogates — are paid to bring a particular point of view to the table. They may be legally constrained by nondisclosure agreements from doing anything other than gushing positively. Take this, therefore, with a few extra pounds of salt. As Farhi asked pointedly in a story: Shouldn’t media organizations be disclosing this? Clearly yes, but they don’t. So consumer beware.
  • Compare and contrast. Those who were quick to disparage the Times’s Rod Rosenstein story when it first appeared had to recalibrate their angry disbelief as other news organizations, including The Post, were able to match the story with their own sources. In some cases, the follow-up reporting from other places had a different tone or emphasis, making more, for example, of the possibility that Rosenstein had been speaking sarcastically. (On Monday morning came widespread reports that the Deputy Attorney General was resigning.)
  • Take a break. The news never stops, so put down your phone, turn off your TV, and do something else for a few hours. Cook a meal, take a walk, go to yoga class, read a 19th century novel.

Of course, there’s a downside.

Chances are that when you come back, some fresh hell will have hit the fan. But at least your heart rate will be lower — for a minute — while you catch up.