Seven Days has hired Vermont journalist Colin Flanders to join its state government and politics team.
Flanders, a 2015 graduate of Saint Michael’s College, spent four years covering Chittenden County for the Essex Reporter, Colchester Sun and Milton Independent. Last year, he helped uncover an embezzlement scheme at a Milton youth football program, resulting in the arrest of the nonprofit’s president. The series earned him and cowriter Courtney Lamdin — also now a Seven Days staff writer — a first-place award in investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper & Press Association.
According to Seven Days news editor Matthew Roy, Flanders is “a talented, ambitious journalist who has been punching above his weight” at the Chittenden County weeklies.
Flanders said he’s eager to join what he called “the best newsroom in the state” and, in particular, to cover the Vermont Statehouse. “Where else are more things going on?” he said. “I’m hoping to tell the biggest stories of the day, but also to tell stories that nobody’s talking about and really shed light on what’s happening in Montpelier.”
Flanders replaces former Fair Game columnist John Walters, who left the newspaper in August. Seven Days has published a weekly political column since it was founded in 1995, first with the late Peter Freyne’s Inside Track. But according to Roy, the paper has decided to discontinue the column — at least for now.
“At one point, it was the newspaper’s only real news content, but over the years our news team has grown up around it and our abilities to report on the state have expanded,” Roy said.
The Seven Days news department now includes seven reporters, four editors and a data editor. The locally owned weekly has a staff of about 50 people.
The paper will deploy three writers to the Vermont Statehouse this winter, as it has since the 2015 legislative session, Roy said. Flanders will join reporters Kevin McCallum and Paul Heintz in Montpelier.
Though Seven Days may one day revive the political column, Roy said, the newspaper has chosen to invest in straight news for now.
“In our world, there’s too much opinion and not enough plain old facts,” he said. “We’ll be trading more in the latter.”