Accessing Police Records in New Hampshire: A Case of First Impression | Attorney Gregory V. Sullivan, a member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors, discusses a public records dispute over a report on excessive force allegations against a Canaan police officer. Sullivan filed an amicus brief on behalf of NEFAC and Union Leader Corp. arguing that the report should be made public under the New Hampshire Right to Know Law. Discussion notes and links.


Rhode Island Open Government Summit | Tim White, a reporter for WPRI-Providence and a long-time member of NEFAC’s Board of Directors, provided the opening remarks to the 23rd annual Open Government Summit in Rhode Island. “When access to information is choked off, secrecy has a direct and negative impact on the public’s opinion of government and the work you do,” White said. “Please remember the important role you play in our free and open government.”


Federal Freedom of Information Act: An Introduction to Public Records | The New England First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists New England present this lesson on the federal Freedom of Information Act. The introductory class is moderated by Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe and a board member of both NEFAC and SPJNE, and is led by Michael Morisy, founder and executive director of MuckRock. View all classes here.


30 Minute Skills: Web Scraping 101 | This is the first of two introductory lessons taught by NEFAC’s Maggie Mulvihill about collecting online data through web scraping. By viewing this class, you will learn: (1) how web scraping can be helpful to data collection (2) where to find free tools to use for web scraping and (3) how to begin scraping various websites for information and data. View all previous classes and register for upcoming ones here.


Analysis: What Does New Justice Department Policy Mean for Journalists? | U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently formalized a new policy that broadly prohibits prosecutors from subpoenaing of journalist records, something major media outlets like the New York Times and CNN dealt with during the Trump administration. NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman speaks to WCAX-Burlington about the policy and the need for a federal shield law.


What is a SLAPP? How Maine is Addressing Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation | Shannon Jankowski at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press explains how strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) are used to stifle public discourse. The Reporters Committee, along with NEFAC’s Sigmund Schutz, recently filed a brief addressing how Maine’s anti-SLAPP statute should be interpreted. Discussion notes and links.


Rhode Island: An Introduction to Public Records | The New England First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists New England present this lesson on the Maine public records law. The introductory class is moderated by Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe and a board member of both NEFAC and SPJNE, and is led by attorney Mark Freel, an attorney at Locke Lord in Providence. View all classes here.


Revisiting Student Rights: How the U.S. Supreme Court May Restrict Off-Campus Speech | Attorney Mike Hiestand of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., discusses the “fuck cheer” case — Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. — and its possible implications on the rights of students outside the schoolhouse gates. Discussion notes and links. Additional resources on student speech and journalism. View more videos on the First Amendment and journalism here.


Maine: An Introduction to Public Records | The New England First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists New England present this lesson on the Maine public records law. The introductory class is moderated by Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe and a board member of both NEFAC and SPJNE, and is led by NEFAC’s Sigmund Schutz, an attorney at Preti Flaherty in Portland. View all classes here.


30 Minute Skills: HIPAA and Public Records | The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is one of the most misunderstood laws. Government officials often incorrectly cite the 25-year-old federal statute. By viewing this lesson, you will learn (1) the history and purpose of HIPAA (2) under what circumstances and to what types of entities HIPAA applies and (3) how to best respond to public record denials that are incorrectly attributed to HIPAA.


Vermont: An Introduction to Public Records | The New England First Amendment Coalition, the Society of Professional Journalists New England and the Vermont Press Association present this lesson on the Vermont public records law. The introductory class is moderated by Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe and a board member of both NEFAC and SPJNE, and is led by NEFAC’s Lia Ernst, legal director at the ACLU of Vermont. View all classes here.


Using Public Records in Connecticut to Shine a Light on Superintendent Pay | Viktoria Sundqvist, newsroom data analyst for Hearst Connecticut, explains how she used the state’s public records law to gather superintendent payroll information. This conversation is part of NEFAC’s First Amendment and Free Press program where the newsroom curtain is pulled back to show how journalists do their job. Discussion notes and links.


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