This three-day institute is open each year to 25 New England journalists and provides the support and training necessary to become more accomplished investigative reporters, well versed in the freedom of information laws that govern today’s difficult reporting landscape.
NEFAC provides the institute — held this year from Sept. 16-18 at Northeastern University in Boston — at no cost to those who attend.[...]
Free Speech Week — celebrated this year Oct. 22-28 — is a national campaign to increase awareness of free speech and its value in a democracy.
During the week, individuals, schools and organizations throughout the country host events, exercise their free speech rights and highlight the importance of the First Amendment.
“This is a great reminder of how important free speech is to our communities,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “We’re looking forward to a robust conversation about the First Amendment and what it means to everyone in Maine.” [...]
On Aug. 5, Brian Stelter, anchor of CNN’s Reliable Sources, shared with viewers an audiotape of a call to a CSPAN political show in which the caller said that if he ran into Stelter and CNN correspondent Don Lemon, he would “shoot” them.
Earlier in the week, MSNBC’s Katy Tur read an email from a viewer who wrote that he hoped that she “got raped and killed” and signed off as “MAGA” (“Make America Great Again,” President Trump’s campaign slogan). “If anyone in the administration cares about the safety and security of journalists, the health of a free and unintimidated press, and, by extension, our democracy as a whole, please say something to your boss, to your dad, to your Commander-in-Chief before it is too late,” Tur wrote.
These two incidents are not isolated or unusual but come into bold relief as President Trump hits the campaign trail in his favorite setting — the rally. [...]
In an effort to counter the anti-media rhetoric being expressed by President Trump, The Boston Globe called on newspapers throughout the country to publish editorials emphasizing the value of journalism and a free press.
According to the Globe: A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press. Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘The enemy of the people.’ This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences. Here are the editorials that appeared throughout New England. [...]
The malicious spreading of rumors, masquerading as fact, well predates the Internet, but the ubiquity and speed of electronic communications, and the tendency of social media to provide amplification, has made the problem exponentially more dangerous to the “marketplace of ideas.”
Perhaps there is no better example of that cancer on public discourse than Infowars, an outlet for conspiracy-mongering and false accusations headed by Alex Jones. [...]