30 Minute Skills: FERPA and Public Records | What is or is not a FERPA record has become more consequential during the COVID-19 pandemic given the increasing demand for school data. By viewing this lesson, you will learn: (1) more about the history and purpose of FERPA (2) under what circumstances and to what types of educational institutions FERPA applies and (3) how to best respond to public record denials that are incorrectly attributed to FERPA.


Accessing Police Body Camera Footage and 911 Calls in Rhode Island | NEFAC’s Edward Fitzpatrick, a reporter at The Boston Globe, appeared on A Lively Experiment to discuss a new police body camera initiative and when footage should be released. Fitzpatrick and other panelists also spoke about the lack of access to 911 calls in the state. The conversation begins at 11:55. Learn more about how NEFAC is helping to keep police accountable.


An Executive Privilege for New Hampshire’s Governor? | Cassidy Jensen, a reporter at The Concord Monitor, discusses a public records request she and her colleagues made of Gov. Sununu and the unexpected response they received. Jensen breaks down the governor’s claim of “executive privilege” and the consequences such a privilege could have on the public’s right to know about government. Discussion notes and links here. More First Amendment and Free Press programs here.


Vermont: 3 Requests 3 Stories | NEFAC provides introductory videos and tutorials on public record laws. This latest round of classes focuses on specific requests that can be made and how they can be turned into stories. Discussing the Vermont public records law is Liam Elder-Connors of Vermont Public Radio. View all state public record law and federal Freedom of Information law lessons here. Learn more about public records in Maine by exploring our new multimedia FOI Guide.


30 Minute Skills: Self-Care for Journalists | After interviewing people who have suffered great loss or covering various conflicts, journalists of all backgrounds may need help coping with their own exposure to traumatic events. By viewing this class, you will be able to: (1) explain the rationale for good self-care (2) identify areas where self-care practical tools may be necessary and (3) begin to implement specific self-care strategies or practical tools.


The U.S. Supreme Court: Why More Access and Transparency is Needed | Melissa Wasser, policy counsel at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C., discusses ways the U.S. Supreme Court should expand public access to its proceedings. POGO, NEFAC and more than 80 other organizations recently called on the court to permanently provide live audio streaming of oral arguments. Discussion notes and links.


Maine: 3 Requests 3 Stories | NEFAC provides introductory videos and tutorials on public record laws. This latest round of classes focuses on specific requests that can be made and how they can be turned into stories. Discussing the Maine Freedom of Access Act is Samantha Hogan of the Maine Monitor. View all state public record law and federal Freedom of Information law lessons here. Learn more about public records in Maine by exploring our new multimedia FOI Guide.


Massachusetts: 3 Requests 3 Stories | NEFAC is continuing its introductory series on public record laws with classes on specific requests that can be made and how they can be turned into stories. In this class, Ally Jarmanning of WBUR in Boston explains how to make three requests using the Massachusetts public records law and what stories can be reported with the records received. View all state public record law and federal Freedom of Information law lessons here.


Contracting Away Transparency: A Look at Human Rights Defense Center v. Correct Care Solutions LLC | Dan Marshall, general counsel and litigation director for the Human Rights Defense Center, explains a recent ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court that helps keep certain private companies subject to the state’s public records law. Marshall argued on behalf of the HRDC last spring. NEFAC and other advocates served as amici curiae in the case. Discussion notes and links.


Qualified Immunity and the First Amendment Right to Record Police | Gabe Rottman at the Reporters Committee explains the legal principle of “qualified immunity” and a recent effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court declare the First Amendment right to record police as clearly established. Rottman and his colleagues filed an amicus brief on behalf of NEFAC and others arguing that lower courts need more guidance on the issue. Discussion notes and links.


30 Minute Skills: Web Scraping 102 | This is the second 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) additional ways to scrape websites for information (2) how to use free online tools for web scraping and (3) how to scrape data from PDF documents for use in spreadsheets. View all previous classes and register for upcoming ones here.


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.


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.


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