Dear Friend of the First Amendment,
The New England First Amendment Coalition continues to grow in programming and influence because of your generous support through the years. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s the truth: the work we do every day isn’t possible without your help.
During the last five months, we have directly addressed problems facing citizens and newsrooms in New England.
Due to a lack of newsroom resources and the strain of round-the-clock reporting on COVID-19, reporters now have less time to engage in much-needed journalism training.
SOLUTION In January, we launched 30 Minute Skills, a monthly educational program featuring short, practical lessons on journalism and the First Amendment. Taught by expert instructors, these quick-hit classes address data cleaning, health reporting, legal threats and safe newsgathering, among many other topics. Learn more at nefac.org/30minuteskills.
With the pandemic loosening its grip on our region, state officials are planning to reconvene in person while potentially limiting the public to remote access only.
SOLUTION Our coalition is calling on all state legislators and other public officials to open their doors to the public and press. We’re working with fellow advocates in Rhode Island, for example, to help draft legislation that would increase public presence and oversight at government meetings. In Vermont, we recently testified that “only with in-person hearings can the public’s voice be fully heard.” Learn more at nefac.org/covid-19.
As citizens are increasingly looking for timely and accurate information, many Americans remain distrustful of mass media — a sentiment that can trickle down to local newsrooms.
SOLUTION Our First Amendment and Free Press program brings reporters, academics and legal scholars onto campuses and into the region’s classrooms and community centers. We are pulling back the newsroom curtain and explaining how journalism works — and how it could be improved. We now offer recorded interviews and panel discussions to meet the increasing demand for online programming. Learn more at nefac.org/1afreepress.
That’s not all we’ve accomplished so far in 2021.
We testified against legislation in Maine and New Hampshire that would unconstitutionally give government excessive power over what you publish. We called for more transparency within the Massachusetts legislature and sought more public oversight of police departments throughout the region. We trained journalists in Connecticut and demanded more access to public officials in Rhode Island. And we honored Yamiche Alcindor of PBS NewsHour — along with investigative journalists, a local whistleblower and a group of college students fighting for public records — during our 11th annual New England First Amendment Awards.
Keeping this momentum is urgent. Please help us by donating today.