12th Annual New England First Amendment Awards

April 13 | 7 p.m. | 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 (Deadline March 4 – Closed)

Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award
Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award


7:00 p.m. | Ceremony Begins [View Full Program]

7:02 p.m. | Welcoming Remarks [View]

Justin Silverman | NEFAC Executive Director
Karen Bordeleau | NEFAC President

7:06 p.m. | Presentation of the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award [View]

Introduction Janet Wu | NEFAC, WCVB-Boston
Acceptance Remarks | Tara Gunnigle

7:11 p.m. | Presentation of the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award [View]

Introduction Tim White | NEFAC, WPRI-Providence
Acceptance Remarks | David Nordman, Brad Petrishen and Jeffrey Pyle

7:17 p.m. | Presentation of the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award [View]

Introduction and Tributes
Acceptance Remarks | Raney Aronson-Rath

7:30 p.m. | Audience Q/A with Raney Aronson-Rath [View]

Moderator Ed Fitzpatrick | NEFAC, The Boston Globe

2022 New England First Amendment Award Recipients

Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award | Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath oversees FRONTLINE’s reporting on air and online and directs the series’ editorial vision, executive producing more than 20 documentaries each year on critical issues facing the country and world. Under her leadership, FRONTLINE has earned two Oscar nominations and won every major award in broadcast journalism. In addition to her work at FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath spearheaded an initiative to bolster local journalism in news deserts and led an ongoing charge for transparency in journalism — including through the FRONTLINE Transparency Project, an effort to open up the source material behind FRONTLINE’s reporting. She also served as the sole public media representative on the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, a panel that published a landmark report on the causes and consequences of growing distrust in democratic institutions, including the press.

Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award | Worcester Telegram & Gazette

The Telegram & Gazette began what would become multi-year legal battle against the Worcester Police Department for access to internal affairs reports in 2018. A judge ruled in its favor last year and in January of this year awarded punitive damages — the first time a court has done so since the Massachusetts public records law was reformed in 2016.

Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award | Tara Gunnigle

Tara Gunnigle used the New Hampshire Right to Know Law last year to investigate the sale of a property to an acting town official. With the help of her husband, Gunnigle requested certain town meeting minutes be unsealed and filed requests for information related to the sale and the land. The information she found led to the resignation of the town’s treasurer. Documents showed the treasurer bought the property through a process “other than by competitive bidding,” which is a misdemeanor under state law.

Event News and Press Coverage

• FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath Honored with Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award | FRONTLINE
• How a N.H. Woman Used Public Records to Expose an Illegal Land Sale in Webster | NHPR
• New Hampshire Resident to Receive 2022 Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award; Tara Gunnigle Used Public Records to Help Expose Town Official’s Illegal Land Purchase
T&G Police Lawsuit Wins Freedom of Information Award From New England First Amendment Coalition | Telegram & Gazette
Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Receive NEFAC’s 2022 Freedom of Information Award
FRONTLINE Executive Producer to Receive NEFAC’s 2022 First Amendment Award; Raney Aronson-Rath to Be Honored for Contributions to Journalism, Freedom of the Press
Nominations Open for NEFAC’s Annual Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award
NEFAC Seeks Nominations for Annual Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award

Sponsors, Contributors and Other Supporters

The Boston Globe | Hearst Connecticut Media Group | WBUR | Boston University | Connecticut Public | The Day | Harrington School of Communication and Media at The University of Rhode Island | Northeastern University | The Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University | Roger Williams University | GBH | Franklin Pierce University | Emerson College | Morgan Lewis | University of New Hampshire