NEFAC REPORT | December 2019
There's Still Time to Support New England Newsrooms and Student Civics Education . . .
This month marks the conclusion of our end-of-year fundraiser. It is a crucial time for NEFAC. We look to friends of the First Amendment — friends like you! — to provide the financial support we need to continue our many valuable programs.

During the last several weeks we have been highlighting the work we do so you can better understand the impact we're making in the region and why the New England First Amendment Coalition is deserving of your support.

Here's what you may have missed:

Named after the late publisher of The Providence Journal, the Hamblett Award is given each year to an individual who has promoted, defended or advocated for the First Amendment throughout his or her career.

NEFAC will honor Sulzberger at its tenth annual luncheon from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2020, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The coalition will also present its Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award and Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award during the event. Nominations for both awards are due Jan. 10. [...]

Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award

Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award

The New England First Amendment Coalition taught a session on media literacy today to a group of educators from Massachusetts high schools.

NEFAC’s session, titled “Media Literacy: From a Journalist’s Perspective,” focused specifically on how educators can best teach their students skills used by reporters. NEFAC’s Jennifer Peter and Emily Sweeney of The Boston Globe led the session.

“We’re bringing newsrooms into classrooms,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of NEFAC. “It’s crucial for students to learn how to interview, to vet information and to be critical consumers of news. Journalists are in the best position to help teach those skills because they use them every day.” [...]

If you would like to schedule a speaker for your classroom, please email
The New England First Amendment Coalition and 52 media organizations recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to adopt a rule that would state a clear standard for when court filings may be sealed.

In a December 16 letter to Chief Justice John Roberts — drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — the organizations explained that the court granted requests to shield records from the public in 46 cases during its 2018 term.

This is by far the highest total over a 30-year period in which the court has allowed an increasing number of secret filings. [...]
Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition and a professor at the University of Maine School of Law, said he is concerned about the rule’s 30-day notice requirement, as it “may make it difficult for residents to rally around timely issues.” “Topics that are of the highest public interest are going to generate larger crowds and there isn’t always the luxury to give timely notice,” said Silverman.
Richard Gagliuso, who has represented newspapers and media outlets in New Hampshire since the 1980s and is on the board of New England First Amendment Coalition, said the state’s Right to Know Law allows non-public sessions for acquisition of real estate.

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