NEFAC REPORT | August 2019
The New England First Amendment Coalition offers the three-day investigative journalism program each year at no cost to 25 New England journalists.

The ninth annual institute is from Sept. 22-24 at Northeastern University in Boston.

The institute provides editors and reporters with the support and training necessary to become accomplished investigative journalists, well versed in the freedom of information laws that govern today’s difficult reporting landscape. Many exceptional, award-winning journalists and First Amendment attorneys volunteer as faculty each year. [...]

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The Promise in 2014: “Charlie [Baker] has already proposed serious initiatives to make state government more transparent and will reexamine the practices regarding public records requests when elected.”

That’s what Tim Buckley, Baker’s campaign manager back then, told me at the time.

The Reality in 2019: My recent experiences in seeking records from Baker reveal that not only does the governor continue to refuse to turn over records that may not put him in the best light, he now even declines to produce records that are quite mundane in nature. [...]

NEFAC and several open government advocates recently expressed concern over an agreement between Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha and the Diocese of Providence as it pertains to the release of public records.

Neronha signed the agreement to gain access to the Diocese of Providence's records dating back to the 1950s in an effort to find cases of sexual abuse by clergy members.

While applauding the effort to investigate sexual abuse allegations, the groups explained in a July 29 letter that the agreement seem to declare many of the records preemptively exempt from the state's public records law regardless of their nature. The Office of the Attorney General, however, said that would not be the case and that it would still consider each record request individually. [...]

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NEFAC Participates in Summit to Help Improve Journalism, Develop Programming
The Granite State News Collaborative hosted the summit on Aug. 20 at Franklin Pierce University in Manchester, inviting educators and non-profit organizations to help brainstorm ways to better train the next generation of New Hampshire journalists.

Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director, attended the summit and worked with potential partners on mentorship programs for journalism students, in-class projects and ways to improve the internship process, among many other ideas.

NEFAC is now one of several organizations tasked with taking the recommendations given at the summit and implementing them across the state.


NEFAC Joins Mass. Civics Learning Coalition, Offers Instruction to Students and Educators
NEFAC recently joined the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition as part of its effort to provide First Amendment and journalism training programs to students throughout the state.

The coalition is composed of civics education non-profit organizations, school districts, research institutions, and others deeply invested in students' civic learning in order to prepare students to become more active in their society.

NEFAC currently offers school districts throughout Massachusetts access to First Amendment experts and local journalists who can help students fulfill the state's new civics education requirements. For more information please email

Sept. 11
South Hadley Public Library
South Hadley, Mass.

Sept. 22-24
Northeastern University
Boston, Mass.

Sept. 25
Saugus Public Library
Saugus, Mass.

Oct. 10
Old Town Hall
Dighton, Mass.


Trump, Press



Dalio Donation, Public Records



Public School Teachers, Political Speech

True Threats, First Amendment



Public Records Reform




Providence Schools, Public Records



Arrest Affidavits, Public Records