New England First Amendment Awards

April 21 | 7 p.m. EST | Online

All Proceeds to Benefit Civics and First Amendment Education in New England

About the New England First Amendment Awards


Step One: Become a NEFAC Sustaining Member with a $50 annual contribution. (If you are already a Sustaining Member, thank you! Just register for the event without any additional payment needed.) Or purchase an event ticket for a one-time payment of $75.

Step Two: Register for the event.

Award Nomination Forms (Closed)

Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award
Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award

Event Program


Ceremony Begins

Welcoming Remarks

Justin Silverman | NEFAC Executive Director

Special Recognition for Public Records Advocacy

Introduction Karen Bordeleau | NEFAC President
Acceptance Remarks Professor Marianne Salcetti and Former Keene State College Journalism Students

Presentation of the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award

Introduction Walter V. Robinson | NEFAC, The Boston Globe
Acceptance Remarks Jeanne Kempthorne

Presentation of the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award

Introduction Judith Meyer | NEFAC, Sun Media Group
Acceptance Remarks Bangor Daily News Staff

Introduction to Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award Recipient Yamiche Alcindor and Remarks

Acceptance Remarks Yamiche Alcindor | PBS NewsHour

Audience Q/A with Yamiche Alcindor

2021 New England First Amendment Award Recipients

Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award | Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour

Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour. She began this role in January 2018. She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. Previously, Alcindor worked as a national political reporter for The New York Times where she covered the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as Congress. She also wrote about the impact of President Trump’s policies on working-class people and people of color.Before joining The Times, she was a national breaking news reporter for USA Today and traveled across the country to cover stories including the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. and the police-related protests in Ferguson, Mo. and Baltimore, Md.

Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award | Bangor Daily News

The Bangor Daily News series “Lawmen Off Limits” — reported by Erin Rhoda, Callie Ferguson and Josh Keefe — focused on the misconduct of police and corrections officers in Maine. Its reporting led to at least three legislative proposals to institute more oversight over law enforcement in the state. The series involved filing public records requests with Maine’s 16 county sheriff’s offices. The newspaper successfully pushed back against unwarranted redactions in two counties and showed how a third county failed to keep discipline records at all. Using thousands of pages of emails and other public records, the Bangor Daily News team also published an in-depth look at how one former sheriff sent explicit images of himself to employees and others, and propositioned them for sex. The investigation revealed how local county commissioners have no power to place elected sheriffs on leave while they are being investigated either internally or criminally.

Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award | Jeanne Kempthorne

Jeanne Kempthorne resigned in protest from her position as general counsel to the Berkshire County district attorney after being ordered not to release public records that were clearly public. Kempthorne’s resignation came last year after the Berkshire Eagle filed a public records request for communications between the District Attorney’s Office and officials at Bard College at Simon’s Rock concerning a student’s claim that she had been racially attacked on campus. Kempthorne said she could find no legal reason to justify holding back the emails and fought the district attorney’s contention that they not be released. She released the public documents and later resigned in protest saying the office placed political concerns above the publics’ right to know about government.

Special Recognition | Prof. Marianne Salcetti and Keene State College Journalism Students

Keene State College Professor Marianne Salcetti and her former journalism students successfully fought for public records before the New Hampshire Supreme Court last year. The group’s lawsuit began three years ago during Salcetti’s public-affairs reporting class. Students in the class requested public records from government agencies, including those in the city of Keene, under the state’s Right to Know Law. The city partially or wholly denied several requests for information about restaurant inspections, certain types of criminal investigations and complaints about use of force by police officers. Salcetti and her students fought the denials in court. A lower-court judge sided with the city, but the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor on several points last June.

News and Press Coverage

NEFAC Recognizes KSC Professor and Class | The Equinox
KSC Journalism Students, Professor to Be Honored for Public Records Work | Keene Sentinel
NEFAC to Recognize Keene State Professor, Students for Public Records Advocacy
Whistleblower Receives Award for Protest Over Public Records Issue Involving DA’s Office | The Berkshire Eagle
Massachusetts Whistleblower to Receive NEFAC’s Orfield Citizenship Award
Bangor Daily News Wins New England Public Access Award | Bangor Daily News
Bangor Daily News to Receive NEFAC’s Annual Michael Donoghue FOI Award
PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor to Receive Hamblett First Amendment Award; NEFAC Will Honor White House Correspondent at 11th Annual Awards Ceremony on April 21
Nominations Open for NEFAC’s Annual Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award
NEFAC Seeks Nominations for Annual Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award

Sponsors and Contributors

WBUR | Boston University | The Boston Globe | Hearst Connecticut Media Group | Morgan Lewis | Northeastern University | The University of Rhode Island | University of New Hampshire | The Tully Center for Free Speech | Emerson College | Northern Vermont University | Saint Michael’s College | Franklin Pierce University | The Day | Prince Lobel