Applications Soon Due for New England First Amendment Institute


CONTACT Rose Cavanagh | 401.331.7209 |

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Twenty-five of New England’s most promising journalists will learn the latest investigative and database reporting techniques and public records access skills from some of the country’s best journalists and First Amendment attorneys at the third annual New England First Amendment Institute, from Sunday, September 29 to Tuesday, October 1 in Dedham, MA.  You could be one of them if you submit your application by August 20.

Among the speakers will be David Barstow of the New York Times, who this spring was awarded his third Pulitzer Prize in the last nine years, his most recent for an expose that Wal-Mart routinely bribed government officials in Mexico for favorable development decisions.

Here’s just a sampling of the other professionals taking part in the sessions and the range of topics:

  • Colin Woodard to discuss his recent “Lobbyist in the Henhouse” series and other investigative projects
  • Lisa Chedekel to train fellows on using federal FOIA requests in the health care context
  • Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News investigative correspondent on her Emmy and Murrow Award winning investigation, “Fast and Furious,” which revealed how Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials let guns “walk” into the hands of the Mexican drug cartel
  • Alison Young of USA Today on her award winning investigation of “Ghost Factories,” abandoned sites that leave chemicals in the ground
  • David Jackson of The Chicago Tribune discussing the “Empty Desk Epidemic” in the Chicago public schools of covered up and significant truancy problems
  • Emmy Award winning producer Anna Schecter of NBC and investigative reporter Tim White of WPRI on effective sourcing, the confrontational interview and transitioning to video.

The workshops will take place at the New England Newspaper and Press Association‘s headquarters in Dedham, MA.  A 2012 fellow had this to say about her experience at the Institute in an evaluation, “All killer, no filler–well worth my time and would recommend it to anyone!” Another participant said that the Institute “touched on so many different issues that I did not leave thinking there was anything I missed. I was thrilled.”

Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC’s executive director, said the program is supported by grants from the McLean Contributionship, National Freedom of Information Coalition and sponsorships from New England Society of Newspaper Editors, the Academy of New England Journalists, Hearst, The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, The Boston Globe and Sam Adams. “We owe a great debt of gratitude to our supporters and sponsors and wonderful faculty members, especially to the First Amendment lawyers and journalists on NEFAC’s  board of directors whose selfless volunteering of their time to train the next generation of investigative reporters makes our Institute possible.”

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NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians, academics and private citizens.