New England First Amendment Institute

The institute is an annual, three-day, intensive training program on freedom of information law and investigative reporting techniques for 25 working New England journalists.

The institute is provided by the New England First Amendment Coalition. It provides editors, reporters and producers with the support and training necessary to become accomplished investigative journalists, well versed in the access laws that govern today’s difficult reporting landscape. Many exceptional, award-winning journalists and outstanding First Amendment attorneys give their time to make the institute an extraordinary learning experience. Presenters and institute fellows span print, broadcast and online media. A goal of the institute is to change the culture of journalism in New England by way of the ripple effect — our institute fellows are required to share what they have learned with colleagues at their media outlets.

Topics covered by the institute include state and federal freedom of information law, how to access and use SEC documents, database reporting, Internet and social media research, source development, writing strategies, investigative techniques, and accuracy and responsibility in reporting.

201120122013 | 20142015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | Former Fellows



• “It was really great getting to know more local New England journalists and toss around ideas about how to cover what’s happening in our region. The hands on sessions were some of best parts, like web scraping and working with data. All the speakers were great.”

• “It’s incredibly hard to pinpoint just one part of this year’s institute that was my favorite. Each session and speaker offered such a unique and impactful learning experience.”

• “The presentations were fantastic. It was great to meet fellow journalists from across the region and share what we’ve all been working on. Great fuel to keep on pushing.”

• “All speakers were excellent and all provided practical information for better reporting through public records, data sources and searching, and human sources. Also, hearing and seeing their work was inspiring and thought provoking for my own reporting. The practical information I walked away with will be invaluable, with a shout out to the session on using databases, especially. Rare to come away with actual technical knowledge to help with day to day work from a conference.”


James W. Foley Scholarship

About James W. Foley

A seasoned war correspondent for Boston-based GlobalPost, James Foley committed himself to the truth and, in his words, “exposing untold stories.” While working in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, Foley reported on the lives of those disadvantaged and suffering. His barbaric death in 2014 reminded the nation of the dangers of his craft and the threats against freedom of information.

According to the James W. Foley Foundation: Foley envisioned a world that respects the dignity and life of each person, regardless of socioeconomic status, cultural background or nationality. His life demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to the freedom of the press and to advocacy for basic human rights.

The New England First Amendment Coalition established the James W. Foley Scholarship in February 2015 to honor the slain journalist and New Hampshire native. The scholarship provides funding for one fellow to attend the institute without travel or lodging expenses.

Previous recipients are Sophia Buckley-Clement at the Rutland Herald (2023); Vanessa Paolella at the Sun Journal in Maine (2022); Haven Orecchio-Egresitz of the Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts (2019); Joe Glauber of WMTW-Portland in Maine (2018); Caitlin Andrews of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor (2017); Katie Jickling of the Herald of Randolph (Vt.) (2016); and Nate Holst of WMTW-Portland in Maine (2015).