Seven Days Founders to Be Inducted Into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame

The cofounders of Seven Days, Vermont’s free, independent weekly newspaper, have been chosen as two of this year’s inductees into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame. Pamela Polston and Paula Routly will be honored at a ceremony during the New England Newspaper and Press Association conference in February.

According to the NENPA website, the Hall of Fame recognizes “industry heroes whose talent, hard work, and exceptional accomplishments provide inspiration to all New England journalists.” NENPA’s board of directors chooses inductees annually.

Seven Days’ staff nominated Polston, associate publisher and coeditor, and Routly, publisher and coeditor, for the Hall of Fame. The two former arts writers and editors founded Seven Days in 1995, with $68,000 and a six-person staff. Nearly 20 years later, their company, Da Capo Publishing, produces five print publications and numerous events and digital offerings, all of which support more than 60 full- and part-time employees. The most recent additions to its staff include veteran Statehouse reporters Terri Hallenbeck and Nancy Remsen, who resigned from the Burlington Free Press in November 2014.

Coeditor and associate publisher Polston contributes to and manages the arts, food and features coverage in Seven Days. Publisher and coeditor Routly oversees the news operation and is in charge of finances and business development.

Addison Independent publisher and editor Angelo Lynn — himself a member of the Hall of Fame — offered comments in support of Polston and Routly’s nomination. “Their focus on reader engagement and stories that make a difference to their readers provide lessons to us all in this industry,” he wrote. “They have been leaders in digital media, as well, and often set the standard for creative ways to reach an audience.”

Former Burlington Free Press writer and managing editor Candace Page also wrote a testimonial on Polston and Routly’s behalf. “As someone with little knowledge of the business side of newspapers,” she wrote, “I’m in awe of Pamela and Paula’s business instincts… But as an engaged citizen, what I admire most is the way Seven Days has used its business success to become a journalistic force… Seven Days plays a central and growing role in fulfilling the collective responsibility of the press: to provide skeptical but unbiased coverage of those who govern us; to expose their failings and follies; and to shine a spotlight on emerging political and social issues.”

Burlington City Arts Communication Director Eric Ford added his support, as well. “I have heard time and time again from community members, organizations and arts partners, ‘if it’s not in Seven Days, then it didn’t happen.’ This shows how much people trust and depend on what Pamela and Paula have built,” he wrote.

This year’s other Hall of Fame inductees are: M. Dickey Drysdale of the Herald of Randolph, Vt.; Joseph Heany of the Boston Herald; Jonathan Kellogg of the Republican-American, Conn.; and Bob Wallack, New England journalist and New England Press Association executive director. A dinner honoring all six will take place on Friday, February 20, at the Boston Seacoast Hotel.

Past Vermont inductees in the Hall of Fame include Hardwick Gazette co-publisher and editor Ross Connelly; the late Burlington Free Press arts writer John Donoghue and his son, Free Press reporter Mike Donoghue; the late Herald of Randolph publisher John Drysdale, Dickey’s father; Vermont Woman publisher Suzanne Gillis; Stowe Reporter editor Tom Kearney; Addison County Independent publisher Angelo Lynn and his brother, St. Albans Messenger publisher Emerson Lynn; the late Burlington Free Press publisher J. Warren McClure; the late Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus publisher Robert Mitchell and his son, R. John Mitchell, the papers’ current publisher; Hardwick Gazette sports reporter Dave Morse; the late Addison County Independent publisher William Slator; and the late Caledonian-Record publisher H. Gordon Smith.

Da Capo Publishing Inc., dba Seven Days, was founded by Pamela Polston and Paula Routly in 1995. In addition to its free publications, the company also produces two annual events: Vermont Restaurant Week and the Vermont Tech Jam, a job fair and tech expo.

In 2000, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce selected then-5-year-old Seven Days as Business of the Year. Eight years later, the Burlington Business Association did the same, citing the company’s exemplary business practices, contributions to the community, and promotion of a positive image for Burlington, as well as business success. In 2013, Editor & Publisher selected Seven Days for inclusion in its annual feature “10 Newspapers That Do It Right.”