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

The ninth annual institute was from Sept. 22-24 at Northeastern University in Boston.
The New England First Amendment Coalition applauds a Vermont Supreme Court ruling released today that prevents citizens from being charged to inspect public records.

“This is a major win for transparency in Vermont,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “The ruling affirms the right of Vermonters to learn about their government and it removes a major obstacle standing between citizens and the transparency they deserve.” [...]

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The New England First Amendment Coalition and several media organizations recently filed an amicus brief arguing for protections under the Massachusetts ‘fair report’ privilege.

The privilege allows news organizations to fairly and accurately report certain types of official or government action without being liable for claims arising out those reports.

NEFAC and fellow amici filed the brief — drafted by Greenberg Traurig who represents GateHouse Media — on Sept. 9 in Butcher v. University of Massachusetts . [...]


NEFAC Provides Guest Speakers to Journalism Classrooms Throughout New England
Since January 2018, NEFAC has hosted programs or provided presentations at more than 60 locations throughout the region.

Our Featured Speaker Program is bringing some of the region's most respected journalists, attorneys and academics to classrooms, campuses and local community centers.

We're helping to educate citizens about the value of journalism and strengthen the trust communities have in their local newsrooms. Please email for more information.

(Pictured above is Walter V. Robinson of Boston Globe Spotlight fame discussing investigative journalism with students at Southern New Hampshire University earlier this month.)

The New England First Amendment Coalition recently testified before a joint panel of Vermont Senate and House lawmakers about the public interest in promptly released information on persons arrested.

The lawmakers called on representatives from state and local law enforcement and the media to provide their opinions on when the name of a person arrested should be publicly released and to what level of crimes should be made public.

Michael Donoghue, who represented NEFAC and the Vermont Press Association at the Aug. 29 hearing, said police should not be prevented from sharing arrest information with the public. This type of information is essential to learning how law enforcement operates and holding police officers accountable for their actions, he said. [...]

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Oct. 10
Old Town Hall
Dighton, Mass.

Oct. 12
Hopkinton Public Library
Hopkinton, Mass.

Oct. 29
Leominster Public Library
Leominster, Mass.

Nov. 6
Providence Community Library – Olneyville Branch
Providence, R.I.

Nov. 7
Fitchburg Public Library
Fitchburg, Mass.

Nov. 13
First Amendment and the Free Press
Lawrence Public Library
Pepperell, Mass.