NEFAC to Recognize Keene State Professor, Students for Public Records Advocacy

Classroom Project Led to Right-to-Know Lawsuit and Successful Case Before N.H. Supreme Court

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

New England First Amendment Coalition will recognize Keene State College Professor Marianne Salcetti and her former journalism students for their successful public records case before the New Hampshire Supreme Court last year.

Salcetti and her students will be honored April 21 at NEFAC’s 11th annual New England First Amendment Awards.

The group’s lawsuit began three years ago during Salcetti’s public-affairs reporting class. Students in the class requested public records from government agencies, including those in the city of Keene, under the state’s Right to Know Law.

The city partially or wholly denied several requests for information about restaurant inspections, certain types of criminal investigations and complaints about use of force by police officers.

Salcetti and her students fought the denials in court. A lower-court judge sided with the city, but the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor on several points last June.

The awards ceremony will be online at 7 p.m. on April 21. Tickets can be purchased here. All proceeds will benefit civics education in New England.

Yamiche Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, will receive NEFAC’s 2021 Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award. The Bangor Daily News will receive the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award. Jeanne Kempthorne, former assistant district attorney in Berkshire County (Mass.), will receive the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award.

WBUR and Boston University are the program’s primary sponsors.

Other sponsors and supporters include The Boston Globe, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Paul and Ann Sagan, The Robertson Foundation, Morgan Lewis, Northeastern University, The University of Rhode Island, University of New Hampshire, The Tully Center for Free Speech, Emerson College, Northern Vermont University, Saint Michael’s CollegeFranklin Pierce University and The Day.

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.