Happy New Year from NEFAC — Let’s Resolve to Keep the Right-to-Know Mission Going in 2013!


CONTACT Rose Cavanagh | 401.331.7209 | rosecavanagh.nefac@gmail.com

Start marking your 2013 calendar at Jan. 7, the deadline for entries in the New England First Amendment Coalition’s first Citizen Right to Know Award and the FOI Award. The next date of note is Feb. 8, when we’ll honor the winners at our third annual Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award luncheon in Boston.

“These are the first in a lineup of activities in the new year to raise the profile of First Amendment and freedom of information issues,” said Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC’s executive director.

The Citizen and FOI awards, new to the program in 2013, are designed, respectively, to honor private citizens and professional journalists who advanced the New England public’s right to know in 2012.

Cavanagh said NEFAC also will work through litigation and legislative efforts to bolster the public’s right to know and continue educational outreach with Sunshine Week events in March and training at the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s winter conference.

“And, in what has become a highpoint of our year, we’ll hold  our third annual NEFAC Institute at NENPA headquarters in Dedham, Mass.,” Cavanagh said.

The Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award will be presented for the third time to honor a career of right-to-know advocacy. Introduced in 2010 and named for the late chairman and publisher of the Providence Journal, the award will go to Philip Balboni, founder of the NECN cable news network and co-founder of GlobalPost, the international news site.

Candidates for the Citizen Award should have shown tenacity in overcoming obstacles to obtain information the public has a right to know. Nominations can be made on the attached forms and emailed to rosecavanagh.nefac@gmail.com or faxed to 401-751-7542.

The FOI Award will celebrate work completed in 2012 in broadcast, online or print media. It will go to a journalist, pair of journalists or media institution for work that protects or advances the public’s right to know under federal or state law. Preference will be given to applicants who overcome significant official resistance.

Applicants should submit their story or series along with a cover letter explaining the process of getting the story, why it was a significant accomplishment and how it affected the public. Entries, which also are due by Jan. 7, may be submitted electronically, though originals will be checked prior to notification of the winner. The entry forms are attached.

The award luncheon is supported by the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, the Presenting Sponsor of the event, and The Boston Globe, a Leadership Circle sponsor.

Tickets to the luncheon at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel are available here. And if you’d like information about supporting this or other NEFAC events in the new year, please contact Rose Cavanagh at rosecavanagh.nefac@gmail.com.

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.