New England First Amendment Awards
April 21 | 7 p.m. EST | Online
All Proceeds to Benefit Civics and First Amendment Education in New England
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)
Justin Silverman | NEFAC Executive Director
Introduction Karen Bordeleau | NEFAC President
Acceptance Remarks Professor Marianne Salcetti and Former Keene State College Journalism Students
Introduction Walter V. Robinson | NEFAC, The Boston Globe
Acceptance Remarks Jeanne Kempthorne
Introduction Judith Meyer | NEFAC, Sun Media Group
Acceptance Remarks Bangor Daily News Staff
Acceptance Remarks Yamiche Alcindor | PBS NewsHour
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