NEFAC’s Michael Donoghue Honored for Journalism, First Amendment Advocacy

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DONOGHUE (Photo Courtesy VAB)

New England First Amendment Coalition Vice President Michael Donoghue recently received the “Friend of Broadcasting Award” from the Vermont Association of Broadcasters for his work on behalf of NEFAC and the state’s press association.

Donoghue is a long-time board member of NEFAC and has led the Vermont Press Association for about 40 years. He also wrote for the Burlington Free Press for 47 years. The Vermont Association of Broadcasters honored Donoghue during its annual Hall of Fame Awards banquet on Dec. 1. He is only the third person honored by the VAB with the award since 2007.

“I believe you all know today that our profession — and ultimately the First Amendment — is under a very serious brutal attack each day,” Donoghue said while accepting the award. “There is more pressure on media members today to get the story and get it right.”

Alluding to remarks by President Trump, Donoghue emphasized that journalists are not “enemy of the people.” Instead, he said, they are “the eyes and ears of the people.” Journalists are the “true friends” of the public and, he added, they need to “keep up the good fight.”

With Donoghue’s help, NEFAC is fighting each day to protect the First Amendment rights of Vermonters and to help journalists in the state obtain better access to government information.

Most recently, NEFAC condemned censorship at Burlington High School and then worked with the district on a new student journalism policy; testified in support of legislation that would broaden the state’s public records law; and educated communities about the value of the First Amendment and journalism.

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 the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Robertson Foundation, The Boston Globe, WBUR and Boston University.