NEFAC REPORT | July 2018
The Washington Post’s  Stephanie McCrummen , a lead member of the team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, will deliver the keynote address at the eighth annual  2018 New England First Amendment Institute .

The  New England First Amendment Coalition  offers the three-day institute each year at no cost to 25 New England journalists. The institute is from Sept. 16-18 at  Northeastern University  in Boston.

Applications for fellowships to the institute are due Aug. 1. Application materials can be obtained  here .

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. [...]
The  New England First Amendment Coalition  mourns the loss of five staff members at the Capital Gazette community newspaper near Annapolis, Maryland, who were killed by a gunman earlier this month in a senseless act of violence. We convey our utmost sympathies to the newspaper’s staff and to the families and friends of the victims.

“Like countless other organizations and right-minded Americans, NEFAC unequivocally condemns all mass shootings,”  wrote Justin Silverman, the coalition’s executive director, in a blog post . “But as guardians of the First Amendment, we are especially saddened and concerned by this most recent tragedy because those targeted were journalists. In a very real sense, this hits home for us.” [...]

Additional Coverage

The  New England First Amendment Coalition , the  ACLU of Rhode Island  and several media organizations recently submitted an  amicus brief  in support of a federal lawsuit filed by the Providence Journal.

The Journal is seeking a ruling on the constitutionality of Superior Court Associate Justice Netti Vogel’s  controversial orders in April  that blocked the release of the juror list, and barred members of the public from contacting the jurors, in a completed, high-profile murder case. [...]
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that prosecutors in President Donald Trump’s Justice Department  secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporters’ phone and email records  as part of a leak investigation.

But no one appreciates the danger of such a step more than James Risen, the former New York Times reporter who faced the very real prospect of jail time as part of a leak investigation by President Obama’s Justice Department. [...]
The New England First Amendment Coalition  recently reaffirmed its support for legislation that would strengthen accountability and oversight of privately-managed prisons throughout the country.

In a letter  — drafted by  Open the Government and sent to U.S. senators earlier this month — NEFAC and more than 40 advocacy and media organizations wrote that "the public is largely in the dark with regard to the functioning of the many of this country’s private prisons, and the industry operates with a lack of oversight and accountability mechanisms.” [...]

NEFAC Discusses First Amendment,
Journalism at Greenfield Library Event
The  New England First Amendment Coalition presented a discussion on the First Amendment earlier this month at the  Greenfield Public Library in Greenfield, Mass. The program featured Buz Eisenberg, an attorney and First Amendment expert. A Professor Emeritus of Greenfield Community College, Eisenberg has taught Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties.

His appearance was part  of NEFAC's Featured Speaker Program . The program was launched in January and is an educational initiative bringing First Amendment and journalism experts to the region's college campuses, high school classrooms and local community centers.
On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-4 decision in  Janus v. AFSCME .

The majority held that the First Amendment prohibited the enforcement of ubiquitous provisions in collective bargaining agreements between public sector labor unions and government employers requiring all employees represented by the union to pay their share of the costs the union incurs when bargaining with the employer on their behalf. The court reversed its 1977 decision in  Abood v. Detroit Board of Education . [...]

Additional Coverage

The Massachusetts supervisor of public records  ruled in April  that the state’s Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) can keep all investigative reports on the sudden death of a developmentally disabled woman secret.

A recent Superior Court ruling, however, has provided a basis for renewing a request by my organization,  the Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates . [...]


Trump Administration, First Amendment

Kavanaugh Nomination

J20 Protests





Michelle Carter Case

Public Protest, Security Fees





Public Records, Legal Fees


Major Supporters and Contributors to the 
New England First Amendment Coalition include: