NEFAC Panels on Newsroom Ethics, Student Journalism Slated for NENPA Conference

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition will present two panel discussions today, exploring recent ethical questions facing newsrooms and the legal challenges of student journalism. Both discussions will occur as part of the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s winter conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, 296 State Street in Boston.

Summaries of each program are below. More information on NENPA’s winter conference can be found here. During the conference, NEFAC will also be presenting its seventh annual New England First Amendment Awards, featuring Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post.

10:30 a.m. How Do You Know It’s True — Or Do You Care Before Printing It

Journalists are facing this question even more frequently with the recent decision by the website BuzzFeed to release unproven allegations about Trump and Russia. Do we publish, or do we wait for somebody else to go first and just claim we are following “breaking news?” In light of what many knew before the election and could not verify and did not report, did BuzzFeed do the right thing? Did CNN and The New York Times react for journalistic or business reasons? Does this set a precedent for future news organization decisions? Let’s talk it out.

· Jonathan Albano | Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
· Karen Bordeleau | New England First Amendment Coalition
· Peter Caruso, Sr. | Caruso & Caruso, LLP
· Michael Donoghue | New England First Amendment Coalition
· Judy Meyer | Sun Journal

2:15 p.m. Protecting the Student Press: Legal Issues Facing Student Journalists

Public college and high school journalists are under fire for their coverage of controversial issues and are frequently threatened with censorship when they try to print the truth about what is happening on campus. Students at private schools often have even fewer rights. The panel will cover legal issues and also look at new legislation that is being proposed across the nation to ensure public school students have legal protections. The “New Voices” legislation, supported by the Student Press Law Center, has been introduced in Vermont and efforts are also under way in Rhode Island. Massachusetts has long had such a law in place for high schools. The other states are quickly lining up.

· Meg Bernhard | Harvard Crimson
· Robert A. Bertsche | Prince Lobel Tye LLP
· Edward Cafasso | WinnCompanies
· Mike Donoghue New England First Amendment Coalition
· Madeline Hughes | The Defender (St. Michael’s College)

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, Lois Howe McClure, The Boston Globe and Boston University. Celebration Supporters include The Hartford Courant and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.