The 23 reporters and editors employed at Seven Days write dozens of stories each week — about local news, food, arts, businesses and people. But not all of their articles wind up in the weekly print edition. Between our web-only stories and supplements such as Staytripper, Nest and Kids VT, you have to make an effort to find and read everything that gets produced in a seven-day period.
Even I miss the occasional gem.
That's why, about a month ago, we launched Sunday Best, a newsletter that delivers seven great reads from the week — and the occasional "Stuck in Vermont" video by Eva Sollberger. It lands in your inbox with a virtual thud at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, a tribute to the extra-thick paper that many of us will forever associate with the second, more contemplative day of the weekend.
I grew up with the Washington Post, which my parents had thoroughly divvied up and pored over before I awoke. Reading it opened my eyes to the world and, closer to home, the shenanigans of former president Richard Nixon. The Style section reliably offered some of the best profiles, reviews and feature writing in the country.
The internet has changed that weekly ritual. At any time of day or night, readers can search for news — and answers — online. Burrowing into previously inaccessible troves of information can be empowering, but seeking out sources, communities and versions of events that confirm misguided or disturbing views can be dangerous.
Another downside: When you're ready to move on to the next article, an algorithm likely has suggestions for you. But they're based on your past behavior — if you like this conspiracy theory, you'll love the next one — and on what's most likely to keep you engaged, and possibly enraged. The quality of the content is rarely a factor.
In contrast, we recommend the old-fashioned serendipity of discovering a great story in a reputable news source.
That's why we're compiling some of our best work of the week — in a variety of subject areas — in one convenient email. We might pluck a story from the Seven Days archive, too, if it sheds light on current events. For example, during the recent impeachment of former president Donald Trump, our Sunday Best included a 2016 deep dive into the long tenure of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who presided over the trial.
If you're not yet getting Sunday Best and would like to, please sign up at sevendaysvt.com/enews. Here's hoping you'll be pleasantly surprised and captivated by something you weren't looking to learn. Discovering something new, and true, is still thrilling, even if you're finding it online.
P.S. Another reputable news outlet, the Daily Beast, noted Seven Days' pandemic plight this week in a story titled, "These Altweeklies Faced 'Total Annihilation.' Here's How They Survived." Writer Sophia June also talked to publishers at the Cleveland Scene, the Stranger in Seattle and the Austin Chronicle. Thank you, Super Readers!