Media Note: Fair Game Columnist Mark Johnson Departs Seven Days | Off Message

Media Note: Fair Game Columnist Mark Johnson Departs Seven Days

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Mark Johnson, left, interviews then-governor Peter Shumlin at the Statehouse in 2015. - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Mark Johnson, left, interviews then-governor Peter Shumlin at the Statehouse in 2015.
Seven Days columnist Mark Johnson is leaving the newspaper.

A veteran journalist and broadcaster, Johnson took over Seven Days' weekly political column, Fair Game, in June after its previous writer, Dave Gram, retired because of health issues.

Johnson wrote 14 columns during his short tenure, covering a wide range of topics, from water quality to broadband expansion. In one, he took a stab at answering the perpetual question of whether Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). will run again.



Johnson's most recent column — published Wednesday — will be his last. In an email, he said the demands of producing a quality column each week "requires more bandwidth than I can sustain."

"It was an honor to work alongside the hard-hitting journalists at Seven Days, even if our time together was brief," Johnson wrote. "I have no current plans but hope to find another way to serve Vermonters in the future."
Prior to joining Seven Days, Johnson spent five years as an editor at VTDigger.org. His career also includes stints as a Burlington Free Press reporter, the co-owner of WKDR Radio and as a talk show host on WDEV radio.

"I thought Mark did a fine job," Seven Days news editor Matthew Roy said in an interview." I am disappointed that he’s not going to stay with us longer, but I understand that it’s not working for him, and I respect his decision. He’s a pro."

It's not yet clear what Johnson's departure means for the future of Fair Game. Seven Days had published the weekly column since the paper's founding in 1995 but discontinued it in late 2019 before its revival earlier this year.

"The news is fresh and we’re considering our options," Roy said.

He added that reader feedback has been "extremely positive" ever since Fair Game returned to the paper. "We know that people have enjoyed the column," he said. "That’s very much on our minds."