Keynote Speakers for 2023 New England First Amendment Institute Announced

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce the three keynote speakers for its upcoming investigative journalism program.

Joining the 13th annual New England First Amendment Institute next month will be:

• Eric Meyer | Publisher and editor of the Marion County Record, the weekly newspaper in Kansas that recently made national headlines when local sheriffs raided its newsroom.
• Sisi Wei | Editor-in-Chief of The Markup, a nonprofit, investigative newsroom that challenges technology to serve the public good.
• Brian Rosenthal | Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times and the president of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

“We are thrilled and honored to have Eric, Sisi and Brian provide the keynote remarks at our Institute,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Their advocacy for local journalism will be an inspiration for this year’s fellows.”

NEFAC will select 25 journalism fellows to attend the Institute which will be from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 at Northeastern University in Boston. Local workshops and remote programming will also be provided to the fellows in the weeks leading up to the in-person instruction.

The tuition-free program features workshops and presentations from many of the country’s elite investigative reporters, editors and media attorneys. More than 300 journalists from 100 local news organizations have attended the New England First Amendment Institute since it began in 2011.

This year’s institute is made possible by the generosity of Northeastern University, the Academy of New England Journalists, the Rhode Island Foundation and Boston University.

13th Annual
New England First Amendment Institute
Presented by the New England First Amendment Coalition

An investigative journalism program provided at no cost to select New England journalists and featuring many of the country’s elite reporters, editors and media attorneys. Learn more about NEFAI 2023.

NEFAI 2023 Keynote Speakers

Eric Meyer returned to a weekly newspaper he purchased in 1998 with his parents and worked at from fifth grade through college. He is now spending his retirement as majority owner, editor, and publisher of the Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas. A veteran of two years at the Bloomington (Illinois) Pantagraph and 18 years at the Milwaukee Journal, where he was news, photo and graphics editor and a Pulitzer Prize nominee for coverage of computer hackers, Meyer spent 26 years as a tenured professor of journalism at the University of Illinois before retiring in 2021. While a professor, he also worked as a consultant to more than 350 online publishers worldwide, was a visiting professor of social media at the Dallas Morning News and created and eventually sold an Internet startup that was the online home of American Journalism Review magazine. Meyer is the recipient of more than 200 statewide awards for everything from investigative reporting and editorial writing to photography and design, and national awards for projects focusing on campus crime, the identity of Deep Throat and student engagement in elections.

Sisi Wei is editor-in-chief at The Markup, a nonprofit investigative newsroom that challenges technology to serve the public good. Previously, she was co-executive director of OpenNews, and assistant managing editor at ProPublica, where she oversaw teams focused on news apps, interactive storytelling, and visual investigations. She has managed large, interdisciplinary investigations, one of which won the Pulitzer Prize. In 2021, Wei won the Gwen Ifill Award for her work supporting women of color in news.

Brian M. Rosenthal is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at The New York Times and the president of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a nonprofit that trains thousands of journalists around the world. He has worked at The Times for six years, primarily writing in-depth stories about New York. Previously, he was a beat reporter covering local government at The Seattle Times and the Houston Chronicle. He won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting for revealing that leaders of the New York taxi industry had trapped thousands of cabdrivers in predatory loans, and he was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for showing Texas was systematically denying special education services to children with disabilities. He also was part of a team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. His other honors include three George Polk Awards, the Selden Ring Award for Investigation Reporting and a national Emmy Award. In addition to his work at The Times and IRE, he teaches about investigative journalism as an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. He grew up in Indiana.

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, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Leadership Circle donors include the Rhode Island Foundation, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, and the Robertson Foundation. Major Supporters include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Boston University, the Academy of New England Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, Genie Gannett for the First Amendment Museum, Linda Pizzuti Henry, the Champa Charitable Foundation Fund and Connecticut Public.