New England First Amendment Institute Faculty, Panels and Workshops Announced

NEFAI 2016 Applications Due August 31


CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is selecting 25 reporters, editors and news producers to attend at no cost its three-day investigative journalism institute. The sixth annual New England First Amendment Institute is from Oct. 16-18 in Dedham, Mass., and is open to any journalist working in the region. Past fellows include a cross-section of those new to the industry and veterans with decades of experience.

Applications can be found here and are due August 31.

Those chosen to attend the institute will learn from some of the country’s elite reporters, editors and media attorneys. Speakers at the institute include investigative journalism heavyweights and freedom of information experts. Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and current editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, will provide the keynote address.

While speakers will continued to be added in the coming weeks, those that are confirmed include:

  • Robert A. Bertsche | Prince Lobel Tye, LLP
  • Dieter Bradbury | Portland Press Herald
  • Peter Caruso | Caruso & Caruso, LLP
  • Michael Donoghue | Vermont Press Association
  • Vincent Duffy | Michigan Radio
  • Rick Gagliuso | Gagliuso and Gagliuso, PA
  • Matt Kauffman | Hartford Courant
  • Jenifer McKim | New England Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Colleen Murphy | Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
  • Mike Rezendes | The Boston Globe
  • Jeremy Singer-Vine | BuzzFeed News
  • James Smith | Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
  • Gregory V. Sullivan | Malloy & Sullivan
  • Don Van Natta | ESPN
  • Todd Wallack | The Boston Globe

Program topics include state public records and open meeting laws, effective sourcing, database analysis how to respond to FOI request denials. Sessions include:

  • Tales from the Trenches | Panelists will share their practical experience in investigative work through painstaking interviewing and use of freedom of information laws to unearth corruption and bring truth to light.
  • Common Pitfalls | Panelists will discuss how to accessing documents through FOI requests and how to respond to denials.
  • Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble | A team of media attorneys will explain common issues of concern in defamation and privacy law.
  • State FOI Law | The specifics of each state’s public records and open meeting laws will be discussed and cases will be reviewed in break-out sessions with knowledgeable attorneys and journalists from each state.
  • The Confrontational Interview & Transition to Audio or Video | Veteran journalists will discuss how to prepare for difficult interviews and provide strategies on how to engage viewers and listeners.
  • Writing Workshop and Narrative Flow | Fellows will learn narrative writing techniques and how to improve their storytelling.
  • Hunch to Headline | Fellows will learn the steps necessary to follow up on a lead using publicly available databases and how to turn that information into a compelling story.
  • Effective Sourcing | Panelists will discuss how to best develop sources and relationships, and how to evaluate information.

Sponsors and supporters of this year’s institute include The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, the Robertson Foundation, The Boston Globe, the New England Newspaper & Press Association and the Academy of New England Journalists.


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