NEFAC Seeking Applicants for 2017 Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award


CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

Application Materials

Application Materials

The New England First Amendment Coalition is seeking applications for its 2017 Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award.

The FOI Award is given each year to a New England journalist or team of journalists for a body of work from the previous calendar year that protects or advances the public’s right to know under federal or state law. Preference is given to applicants who overcome significant official resistance. Application materials can be found here. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2017.

The award will be presented at NEFAC’s annual New England First Amendment Awards luncheon from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on February 24 at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf. Sponsors and contributors to the luncheon include The Boston Globe, Boston University, Prince Lobel Tye, WBUR-Boston and the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

Tickets to the luncheon can be purchased here.

Also to be presented at the luncheon are the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award and the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award. The Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, named after the late publisher of The Providence Journal, is given to an individual who has promoted, defended or advocated for the First Amendment. Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post will accept the 2017 award. The Orfield Citizenship Award is given to an individual who has fought for information crucial to the public’s understanding of what its government is doing — or not doing — on its behalf. Nomination forms for the Citizenship Award can be found here.

The FOI Award is named for Michael Donoghue, a current member of NEFAC’s board of directors who worked for more than 40 years at the Burlington Free Press. Donoghue was selected as the 2013 New England Journalist of the Year by the New England Society of News Editors and in 2015 received the Matthew Lyon First Amendment Award. Donoghue has been an adjunct professor of journalism and mass communications at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt. since 1985.

Previous recipients of the FOI Award include:

• 2016 Jenifer McKim | As a reporter for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, McKim overcame significant freedom of information challenges to write “Out of the Shadows,” a 2015 series about child abuse and neglect.

• 2015 James W. Foley (posthumously) | A seasoned war correspondent, New Hampshire native Foley committed himself to the truth and, in his words, “exposing untold stories.” While working in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, Foley reported on the lives of those disadvantaged and suffering.

• 2014 Brent Curtis | A reporter for the Rutland (Vt.) Herald, Curtis fought for access to certain police records and helped make Vermont police departments more transparent.

• 2013 Don Stacom | Stacom of the Hartford Courant pursued stories about police misconduct through the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, prompting a shakeup of the New Britain, Conn., police department.

The awards luncheon is part of the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s winter convention. More information about the luncheon can be found here.


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 Legacy Fund, The Boston Globe and Boston University.