Vermont Public Records: Demanding Transparency From Private Organizations | NEFAC’s Lia Ernst, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Vermont, explains why private entities performing essential government services should be subject to the Vermont public records law. Courts throughout the country already apply their state’s respective public records statutes to certain private entities, explained NEFAC and others in an amicus brief drafted by Ernst and her colleagues at the ACLU.

30 Minute Skills: How to Respond to a Subpoena | According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, at least 85 journalists have received subpoenas since 2017. Just this year, Vermont television station WCAX received a subpoena from prosecutors demanding unaired footage from an interview. For an increasing number of New England newsrooms without regular access to attorneys, these legal orders can be intimidating and infringe on their rights.

Local Journalism and Transparency in Massachusetts | NEFAC and the Medfield Insider celebrated Sunshine Week on March 19 with an expert panel discussion about local journalism and the need for transparency in Massachusetts. The program featured Charlie Sennott (moderator) of the GroundTruth Project, Morgan C. Mullings of The Bay State Banner, Kay Lazar at The Boston Globe and NEFAC’s Peter Caruso, a media attorney based in Andover.

Keeping the Light On: Holding Government Accountable | NEFAC celebrated Sunshine Week 2021 with a panel discussion featuring Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director for the ACLU of New Hampshire; the Hon. N. William Delker, N.H. Superior Court Justice; Casey McDermott (moderator) at New Hampshire Public Radio; Emily Gray Rice, City Solicitor for Manchester; and NEFAC’s Gregory V. Sullivan, an attorney at Malloy & Sullivan.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Challenges Facing Latinos in New England Newsrooms | Karina Cuevas, a producer at Telemundo in Boston, and Kevin Adrade, a freelancer based in Providence, describe their work at NAHJ’s New England chapter and explain the most pressing issues facing Latino journalists in the region. Discussion notes. You can view all our First Amendment and Free Press discussions here.

Reconsidering News Coverage: A Look at The Boston Globe’s Fresh Start Initiative | David Dahl at The Boston Globe discusses the Fresh Start initiative, an attempt to reevaluate the newsworthiness of old stories and weigh the effect those stories have on an individual’s reputation versus the value they serve by remaining online. Watch an edited version of a conversation Dahl had with NEFAC’s Board of Directors. Discussion notes.

30 Minute Skills: Data Cleaning 102 | This lesson is the second of two introductory lessons on cleaning datasets obtained online or through public records requests. By attending this second lesson, you will: (1) Advance your data cleaning skills with OpenRefine (2) Learn how to import dirty data from websites and increase memory in OpenRefine (3) Build your facet and clustering skills (4) Learn how to split and merge data. All 30 Minute Skills classes can be viewed here.

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.