Left to right: Don Eggert, Pamela Polston, Paula Routly, Cathy Resmer and Colby Roberts
has won dozens of awards for its journalism — including the coveted, best-of “general excellence” honor from the New England Newspaper and Press Association
. But on June 19, 2019, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation
celebrated the free, independent newsweekly for a different reason: its business leadership. GBIC gave the C. Harry Behney award, its most prestigious honor, to Seven Days’
five owner-publishers: Paula Routly, Pamela Polston, Cathy Resmer, Colby Roberts and Don Eggert.
Given each year since 1995 in honor of past GBIC president C. Harry Behney, the recognition singles out Vermont leaders “for their significant contributions to advancing the economic wellbeing of the people of our community and promoting a climate that enhances the economic vitality of the state of Vermont." Seven Days
is the first media company to receive the award; past honorees have included governors, senators and philanthropists.
In his remarks, GBIC president Frank Cioffi recognized the five Seven Days
publishers “for their vision and commitment in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship through the creation and ongoing promotion of the Vermont Tech Jam.
” Since 2008, the career fair and expo has showcased the state’s tech companies to attract professionals and college students who might otherwise look for tech jobs outside the state; this year's event takes place Thursday, October 17, at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction.
Cioffi also praised Seven Days
for “thoughtful and inspiring leadership in shining light on the opiate epidemic facing our region and state” — a reference to the paper’s yearlong “Hooked
” series reporting on Vermont’s opioid crisis. Calling it a “catalyst to help Vermonters come together as a community to find meaningful ways to address the challenges of addiction,” Cioffi credited the paper with “forging positive social and economic change for Vermonters.”
Accepting the award during GBIC’s annual meeting at Echo, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
on the Burlington Waterfront, publisher and co-editor Paula Routly said to the audience: “A lot of communities have lost their local newspapers. It’s hard to imagine the impact until it’s too late. The best papers provide a kind of gathering place. A common culture. They’re the glue that brings and holds us together. This honor feels like a rare acknowledgment of that.”