NEFAC Announces Additions to Leadership; Editor, Publisher and University Dean Join Board

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce the addition of three members to its Board of Directors.

“We are honored to have these individuals join our board,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Their expertise will make us a stronger organization and help us better advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know throughout New England.”

Joining NEFAC’s Board of Directors are:

TOM KEARNEY | Managing Editor | Stowe Reporter

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Tom Kearney is managing editor of the Stowe Reporter and Waterbury Record, weekly newspapers based in Stowe, Vt. Kearney worked at the weeklies for seven years before joining hibu (formerly Yellowbook) in 2012, where he was senior manager for global editorial quality for a project that launched 700 monthly community magazines in 15 months in the U.S., UK and Spain. However, the project folded in 2014 and Kearney, a native Vermonter, returned to the Stowe-based newspapers.

Kearney also worked at the daily Keene (N.H.) Sentinel for 36 years, the last 20 as executive editor. Previously, he was a reporter, city editor and managing editor/news. During his time there, the news staff grew from 10 people to 33. 

Both the Stowe Reporter and the Sentinel have been judged the best newspapers of their size in the region by the New England Newspaper & Press Association and its predecessor the New England Newspaper Association, respectively.

Kearney has been a board member and president of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors, a board member of the New England Newspaper & Press Association, a charter member of the New Hampshire Committee on Judiciary and the Media, a steering committee member on the New Hampshire Supreme Court Task Force on Internet Access to Court Records, a legislative witness for the Vermont Press Association, and a two-time Pulitzer Prize juror. He has received the Yankee Quill award, the N.H. First Amendment Award, and the Keene State College Alumni Achievement Award, and was selected for the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Kearney attended Fairfield University and graduated from Keene State College. He did graduate work in journalism at UMass-Amherst, taught a required journalism course at Keene State for 12 years, and was an adviser to the Franklin Pierce University newspaper for four years.

Kearney is married to Maria Archagelo, editor and co-publisher of two Vermont weeklies, the Essex Reporter and Colchester Sun.

NAOMI SCHALIT | Publisher and Senior Reporter Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

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Naomi Schalit is the publisher and senior reporter for the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a non-profit, non-partisan investigative news service in Maine. She co-founded the center in 2009 with her husband and colleague, John Christie.

A graduate of Princeton University with a degree in religion and Near Eastern studies, Schalit attended the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley and began her career at the San Jose Mercury News. In the last two decades, she has written for magazines and newspapers around the country, worked as a columnist for the Maine Times and for five years was a reporter and producer at Maine Public Radio. While at MPR, her reports were featured on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the CBC. Schalit won many awards for her radio reporting, including one from Public Radio News Directors, Inc., or PRNDI, for her expose of an historic state conservation deal gone bad.

In between all the reporting, writing and producing, she also took temporary leaves from journalism in 1993 to run her own floorcloth manufacturing studio and almost a decade later, to serve for three years as executive director and lobbyist for a statewide non-profit conservation group.

In April 2005, she joined the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel as opinion page editor, where she worked until the papers were sold. In 2007, she won first place in the New England AP News Editors’ competition for editorial writing during 2006.

Schalit was the recipient of a 2007 Publick Occurrences Award from the New England Newspaper & Press Association. She received an honorable mention for the Anna Quindlen Award in 2007, placed runner-up in the 2007 Casey Journalism Awards and received first place for editorial writing in the 2007 National Sigma Delta Chi Awards, all for her multi-part editorial investigative series on hunger in Maine, “For I Was Hungry.” That series also earned her the first “Force for Good” award given by Portland non-profit Preble Street.

She was a 2014 co-winner of a Publick Occurrences Award for a series of stories, “RX for Theft,” about pharmacists who steal. While Schalit has contributed to almost every story published by the center, she has developed a specialty in energy and legislative and executive branch ethics.

Schalit has two grown children and lives in Hallowell, Maine, with her husband.

YOHURU R. WILLIAMS | College of Arts and Sciences Dean | Fairfield University


Yohuru Williams is a history professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. He is the author of “Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven” (Blackwell, 2006) and “Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook” (Corwin, 2008). He is the editor of “A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present, Documents and Essays” (Kendall Hunt, 2002), and the co-editor of “In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement” (Duke University, 2006), and “Liberated Territory: Toward a Local History of the Black Panther Party” (Duke University, 2009). He also served as general editor for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 2002 and 2003 Black History Month publications, “The Color Line Revisited” (Tapestry Press, 2002) and “The Souls of Black Folks: Centennial Reflections” (Africa World Press, 2003). Dr. Williams also served as an adviser on the popular civil rights reader Putting the Movement Back into Teaching Civil Rights.

Dr. Williams’ scholarly articles have appeared in The Black ScholarThe Journal of Black StudiesThe Organization of American Historians Magazine of HistoryDelaware HistoryPennsylvania History, and the Black History Bulletin.


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. Donations can be made here. Major Supporters of NEFAC for this year include: The Robertson Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, The Boston Globe and Boston University.