New Hampshire Resident to Receive 2022 Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award

Tara Gunnigle Used Public Records to Help Expose Town Official’s Illegal Land Purchase

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |


The New England First Amendment Coalition will honor New Hampshire resident Tara Gunnigle with its 2022 Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award.

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual from one of the six New England states who has fought for information crucial to the public’s understanding of its community or what its government is doing — or not doing — on its behalf.

Gunnigle, who lives in Webster, used the New Hampshire Right to Know Law last year to investigate the sale of a property to an acting town official. With the help of her husband Jon Pearson, Gunnigle requested certain town meeting minutes be unsealed and filed requests for information related to the sale and the land.

The information she found led to the resignation of the town’s treasurer. Documents showed the treasurer bought the property through a process “other than by competitive bidding,” which is a misdemeanor under state law.

Gunnigle will receive the Citizenship Award at NEFAC’s 12th annual New England First Amendment Awards online ceremony from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 13.

Ticket and registration information can be found here. All ticket proceeds will benefit civics and First Amendment education in New England. 

Previous recipients of the Citizenship Award are Jeanne Kempthorne (2021); the Cook v. Raimondo Student Activists (2020); David Saad (2019); the Hyde Square Task Force (2018); Donna Green (2017); Michael Champa (2016); Harriet Cady(2015); Kit Savage (2014); and David Lang (2013).

NEFAC will also present its Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award and the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award during the program. Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer of FRONTLINE, will receive the First Amendment Award. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette will receive the FOI Award.

Supporters of the 2022 New England First Amendment Awards include The Boston Globe, Hearst Connecticut Media Group, WBUR, Boston University, Connecticut Public, The Day, the Harrington School of Communication and Media at The University of Rhode Island, Northeastern University, the Tully Center for Free Speech, Roger Williams University, GBH-Boston, Franklin Pierce UniversityEmerson College and Morgan Lewis.

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.

Leadership Circle donors include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, The Boston Globe, Paul and Ann Sagan, and the Robertson Foundation. Major Supporters include Boston University, WBUR-Boston, the Academy of New England Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, Genie Gannett for the First Amendment Museum, Linda Pizzuti Henry, Connecticut Public and GBH-Boston.