Reporting on Local Protests: How Newsrooms Cover Political Demonstrations | With political demonstrations occurring throughout the country and weekly protests held at the Maine State House, citizens are asking: why are these events covered the way they are? This program helps pull back the newsroom curtain and focuses on recent news coverage. Speakers answer questions about news decisions and provide insight into how the media covers Maine.


NEFAC Reacts to R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Rare Comments to Press | Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director, recently explained to WPRI-Providence that Gov. Gina Raimondo’s decision to avoid the press is problematic, especially since she’s still the acting governor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “She is a sitting governor and there are a lot of very important questions that need to be asked of her,” Silverman said.


Maine Judicial Records: A First Amendment Right to Access | NEFAC’s Judy Meyer, executive editor at the Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, discusses a recent lawsuit to protect the First Amendment right to judicial documents in Maine and what could happen if that access continues to be denied. Discussion notes and links here. This discussion is part of our First Amendment and Free Press program.


Filling the Local News Void: A Look at the Waterbury Roundabout | Lisa Scagliotti, editor of the recently launched Waterbury Roundabout, describes how the closure of a local newspaper left her community without a regular news source and how she responded by launching her own. Discussion notes and links here. This discussion is part of NEFAC’s First Amendment and Free Press Program and is supported by the SPJ Foundation.


Saving Local Journalism: How a Mass. Legislative Commission is Looking for Solutions | Dan Kennedy, a professor at Northeastern University, discusses the struggles of local journalism, challenges facing the local news industry and how a recently established legislative commission in Massachusetts may help. Discussion notes and links here. This discussion is part of our First Amendment and Free Press program.


30 Minute Skills: Data Cleaning 101 | This lesson is an introduction to cleaning datasets obtained online or through public records requests and is instructed by NEFAC’s Maggie Mulvihill, a professor at Boston University. By completing this lesson, you will: (1) understand what data cleaning is and why it’s necessary (2) learn about the free tools available to help clean data and (3) begin building your data cleaning skills. All 30 Minute Skills classes are recorded and can be viewed here.


FOIA Battles: Looking Back at 20 Years of Media Lawsuits | Austin Kocher, a research assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse and FOIA Project, discusses a recent report describing trends during the last 20 years of media lawsuits under the federal Freedom of Information Act. View discussion notes and links as well as learn more about how NEFAC is helping to strengthen FOIA here.


Free Speech, Incitement and the First Amendment | NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman dispels several First Amendment misconceptions for WMTW-Portland. In this interview, which followed the decision by Twitter and Facebook to suspend President Trump’s accounts, Silverman explains where the First Amendment lines are drawn with respect to private companies and the advocacy of unlawful activity.


The Right to Record Police: A Look at Martin v. Rollins | Shannon Jankowski, E.W. Scripps Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, discusses the freedom to record police in the First Circuit and what implications a recent decision has on the public’s right to document government activity. The Reporters Committee, NEFAC and other media organizations filed an amicus brief in the case in 2019. Discussion notes and links here.


Gun Violence in Connecticut and the Importance of Local, Investigative Journalism | Keila Torres Ocasio, Managing Editor of Investigations for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, discusses a recent series on gun violence in the state, the reporting process behind the stories and why local investigative journalism is essential to communities. Discussion links and notes can be found here. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


Hate Speech in America | NEFAC and the Providence Community Library presented a panel discussion on hate speech and the First Amendment. The program features Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island; Michaelle Larracuente, dean of Student Culture of Achievement at First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary; Elana Rosenberg, executive director of Youth Pride Inc.; and NEFAC’s Gregory V. Sullivan.


Documenting Misconduct and Seeking Accountability From County Sheriffs in Maine | Erin Rhoda, editor at the Bangor Daily News, describes a series of stories she and her colleagues reported that detail the lack of accountability among county sheriffs in Maine. Watch video. Discussion links and notes here. This discussion is part of our First Amendment and Free Press program. Click here to learn about how NEFAC is advocating for more law enforcement transparency.


Access to Vt. Courts During COVID-19: Speaking Up, Demanding Transparency | Tiffany Tan, a reporter at the Bennington Banner, explains how access to the Vermont judicial system has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic and why citizens should be demanding more transparency. Watch video. Discussion links and notes here. Click here to learn about how NEFAC is helping during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Transparency and the Boston Police Department: Making Misconduct Records Publicly Accessible | Evan Allen, a reporter at The Boston Globe, discusses a new database she and her colleagues created to help citizens search misconduct records within the Boston Police Department. Discussion links and notes can be found here. This discussion is part of our First Amendment and Free Press program. Click here to learn about how we are advocating for police transparency.


The EB-5 Scandal: Local Journalism, Public Records and Fighting for the Right to Know in Vermont | Anne Galloway, editor and founder of VTDigger, explains her newsroom’s ongoing legal effort to obtain public records related to the state’s EB-5 scandal. Watch video. Discussion links and notes can be found here. This discussion is part of our First Amendment and Free Press program. Click here to learn about NEFAC’s work in Vermont and the state’s public records law.