Resurrected: Thread isn’t finished yet

When local arts, culture and news publication Thread Magazine disappeared from racks in the Davis Center last spring, the Cynic caught up with editor Ben Sarle to find out if there had been a stocking issue, or if Thread was dead. 

But this past September Sarle re-launched the former bi-monthly print magazine, known for long-form style features and glossy photo spreads, into a web-based operation, and after this past weekend’s well-attended fundraiser at the BCA, Thread is back and ready to utilize the new format to its benefit. 

“We are publishing a lot more content now,” Sarle said. “We are reallocating our print resources to cover more material in a much more timely manner.”

Thread used to hold all of the best features for print in its bi-monthly issues. With the new website, when Sarle and other contributors write an article, they can publish it online immediately. So far, the website has featured an array of stories covering everything from a profile on new political organization Emerge Vermont to “beer journalism.”

Editor’s Note: The Cynic‘s own Life co-editor Johnny Sudekum wrote an article Sept. 21 reviewing local singer/songwriter Myra Flynn’s new album “Half Pigeon.”

“Nobody loves a print publication more than I do; it was so fun! But for right now we are going to hold off,” Sarle said. “A special print edition is in the cards for the future.”

A UVM graduate, Sarle developed the idea for Thread in August 2011, and has since collaborated on stories with fellow UVM alum and former Cynic opinion editor Zach Despart, who now writes for the Addison Independent. 

Owing to declining ad sales and Sarle’s admission into Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, he contemplated pausing printing after Issue 8 and taking a one-year hiatus to move to New York City. 

But while Sarle may have been ready to leave Burlington, friends and avid readers of Thread weren’t on the same page. In his Letter from the Editor posted Sept. 21 on Thread’s website, he wrote that he had been “inundated” with story pitches and advertising inquiries. 

“It’s a combination of switching our platform and re-emerging in the market. Burlington is such a supportive community,” he said. “Businesses were stoked to get the word out.”

Case in point: This past weekend, Church Street’s BCA hosted a fundraising party with Thread where 50 percent of the donations went to the magazine, and the other half went to the BCA’s arts scholarship fund. With the band Pours headlining and sponsorship from community partners like Manhattan’s Pizza, Guild Fine Meats, Cursive Coffee and Sweet Lady Jane, the event reached capacity. 

“It was less about trying to make money and more about trying to get the word out,” he said, though he estimated Thread walked away with a few hundred dollars. 

With more community partnerships in the works, Sarle said Thread is currently in talks with Signal Kitchen. The magazine in its latest iteration is fast living up to its reputation as a “community newspaper,” a concept that Sarle said has helped find its niche among young Burlington professionals. 

“It’s fostered by the feedback we get. I think back to our first couple of issues and it’s so different than what we are doing now, and it’s because of the leadership that recognizes our audience,” he said. 

And while most of Thread’s writers are media industry professionals who contribute on the side, Sarle said it’s relatively easy to pitch stories. Currently the magazine is edited and worked on at Sarle’s house, but he said he hopes to open a small office in the future. 

“There’s nothing better than going out and people recognizing you, and then giving you positive feedback about the magazine,” he said. “It’s for the people.”