Local stories sought for new magazine

MIDDLEBURY — Even though she’s been living in Middlebury for the past 12 years, Katie Jennings said she wasn’t satisfied with what she called a “fairly narrow view” of her community. Her husband, Matthew Jennings, works at Middlebury College as the editor of Middlebury Magazine and her son attends Mary Hogan Elementary School.
“I have only certain slices of the community that I see in my day-to-day life,” she said. “It’s a small town but there’s a lot more depth and breadth than what we see in our own little pieces of it.”
What she was hoping for was a broader perspective. So working with friends and colleagues in the world of publishing they devised a solution earlier this year — their own magazine. The staff of 10 includes Jennings, who serves as the publisher; Bill Burger, Middlebury College’s vice president of communication, serves as one of two editors at large; and local award-winning photographer Brett Simison provides the art. The website features a magazine-style design and their social media feeds have been gathering followers.
Starting this fall, the online magazine The Warbler began publishing stories of life in Addison County’s 23 towns.  
Feature-length articles on life in the county that are currently posted include a daylong trek on the Trail Around Middlebury, a blow-by-blow account of the demolition derby at the Addison County Fair and Field Days, a ride across Lake Champlain on a ferry between Shoreham, Vt., and Ticonderoga, N.Y., and, most recently, an interview with state Rep. Amy Sheldon. Shorter pieces include a look back at the historic Addison House hotel, a Thai food truck and reflections on the last creemee of the summer.
“The common thread is looking at what’s familiar in an unfamiliar way,” Jennings said. “It’s an interesting way to approach storytelling and hopefully interesting to read as well.”
In the future, The Warbler folks hope to discuss including advertising space on the website and acquiring articles and art from contributors.
As the group looks to expand content online, Jennings said a goal of the magazine is to provide a range of views on life in the Champlain Valley no matter their relationship to the area.
“We’re trying to come up with a way to broaden our individual perspectives on what it means to be in a community like this one,” she said. “As a bonus, telling stories is just fun.”
Read stories at www.thewarblervt.com.

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