NEFAC, SPJ to Offer Introductory Courses on Federal FOIA, State Public Record Laws

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition and the Society of Professional Journalists New England are offering lessons on the federal Freedom of Information Act and state public record laws.

The short introductory classes will feature expert instructors and be moderated by Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe and a board member of both NEFAC and SPJNE.

Registration is now open for all classes.

“Public record laws are a valuable tool to help citizens learn about and engage with their government,” Sweeney said. “But they vary greatly from state to state. This series of presentations will help everyone better understand the laws in New England and how they can best be used.”

Public Record Laws in New England

A series of introductory lessons — taught by leading open government experts and attorneys — on the federal Freedom of Information Act and state public record laws.

Each program will be moderated by Emily Sweeney, a journalist at The Boston Globe and author of the books “Boston Organized Crime” and “Gangland Boston.” Sweeney currently writes the “Blotter Tales” column which appears in the Globe every Sunday. In addition to serving on the NEFAC board, she’s also the president of the New England Society of News Editors.

CONNECTICUT | June 2 | 6 p.m.

Dan Barrett is the ACLU of Connecticut’s legal director. His interests in the law include anonymous speech, mass surveillance, and maximizing democratic control of government through open courts and open records.


NEW HAMPSHIRE | June 9 | 6 p.m.

Gregory V. Sullivan serves as general counsel for the Union Leader Corporation. He teaches First Amendment Media Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston and at the Nackey Loeb School in Manchester.


MASSACHUSETTS | June 23 | 6 p.m.

Jon Albano is a partner at Morgan Lewis in Boston. His practice is focused on commercial, media, and appellate litigation, as well as representing newspapers, entertainment and news broadcasters, and publishers.


VERMONT | June 30 | 6 p.m.

Lia Ernst is a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Vermont, where she litigates civil liberties, civil rights and open government cases. Ernst also advocates before state and municipal governmental bodies.


MAINE | July 7 | 6 p.m.

Sigmund Schutz is a partner at Preti Flaherty in Portland. He has been newsroom counsel to Maine’s largest news organization for more than 20 years. Schutz frequently defends broadcast and print media.


RHODE ISLAND | July 14 | 6 p.m.

Mark Freel is a partner at Locke Lord in Providence. He has served as lead counsel in numerous cases involving constitutional and civil rights, including First Amendment rights and section 1983 claims.


FEDERAL FOIA | July 28 | 6 p.m.

Michael Morisy is co-founder and chief executive of MuckRock. Morisy was previously an editor at the Boston Globe, where he launched the paper’s technology vertical BetaBoston.


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.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Paul and Ann Sagan, The Boston Globe, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.