Hello. I’m Sig Schutz, an attorney at Preti Flaherty in Portland, Maine. I’ve been a member of the New England First Amendment Coalition Board of Directors since 2008.
I joined NEFAC nearly a decade ago to help Maine residents keep their government accountable. The coalition is a much-needed advocate for freedom of the press and the public’s right to know. Whether filing amicus briefs on behalf of First Amendment interests or providing training to Maine journalists, NEFAC is working every day to protect your rights and to keep you informed.
NEFAC’s work is crucial and deserving of your support. Will you contribute to our crowdfunding campaign and help us reach our goal?
Nationally, the role of the Fourth Estate is being challenged by a presidential administration that considers the media an “enemy of the American people.” In Maine, we’ve experienced similar challenges under a governor who refuses to speak to many news organizations, has once said “reading newspapers in the state of Maine is like paying somebody to tell you lies” and who has joked about bombing the Portland Press Herald.
These aren’t easy times for the press and those who value information about their government. That’s why NEFAC is needed.
Every fall, NEFAC provides a three-day investigative journalism workshop to 25 New England reporters and editors – at no cost to them. The New England First Amendment Institute is in its seventh year and offers an opportunity many newsrooms can no longer afford. The skills that are learned at the institute are used to enhance the reporting at news organizations throughout Maine and the region.
In recent months, NEFAC has publicly opposed plans that would limit access to Maine State House committee recordings. It has testified against fee requirements that would make it more difficult for Maine residents to obtain public records. It has rallied against proposed rules that would make secret basic probate court information. And it honored the work of the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, after the newspaper uncovered a new court policy that kept the public in the dark about dismissed criminal cases.