Open Meeting Law: How Newsrooms Respond to Executive Session Secrecy

Register Now for New Round of Freedom of Information Lessons with Local Journalists

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition is continuing its series on state open meeting laws with new classes on executive sessions.

The classes will feature a local journalist who will share stories of government agencies inappropriately holding executive sessions, secret meetings that are allowed only under certain circumstances. The journalists will discuss how they responded to these meetings and continued their reporting.

This latest round of classes will be provided by NEFAC with support from the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, SPJ New England, the Rhode Island Foundation, MuckRock and the New England Society of News Editors.

Previous lessons can be viewed on NEFAC’s YouTube channel or through its new multimedia FOI GuideRegistration is free and open to all members of the public.

The latest in a series of lessons — taught by leading open government experts, attorneys and journalists — on the federal Freedom of Information Act and state FOI laws.

Each class 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 of Directors, she’s also president of the New England Society of News Editors.

MAINE | Oct. 4 | 7 p.m.

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter for the Bangor Daily News. Loftus grew up in Vermont where he previously worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press and VTDigger.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to Maine Open Meeting Law

CONNECTICUT | Oct. 12 | 6 p.m.

Len Besthoff is the Chief Investigative Reporter for the NBC Connecticut Investigates team. He concentrates on stories using data, records, and whistleblowers to expose waste, corruption, and wrongdoing.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to Connecticut Open Meeting Law

NEW HAMPSHIRE | Oct. 17 | 6 p.m.

Jonathan Van Fleet is editor of the Concord Monitor, where he oversees all newsroom operations. Previously the paper’s managing editor, Van Fleet also leads the Monitor’s local reporting staff.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to New Hampshire Open Meeting Law

VERMONT | Oct. 24 | 6 p.m.

Sasha Goldstein is the deputy news editor at Seven Days, where he has worked since 2016. He previously reported for the New York Daily News and The Day in New London, Conn.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to Vermont Open Meeting Law

RHODE ISLAND | Nov. 2 | 6 p.m.

Ethan Shorey is editor-in-chief of The Valley Breeze, where he has worked since 2006. He previously served as a staff writer, online news editor and managing editor for the publication.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to Rhode Island Open Meeting Law

MASSACHUSETTS | Nov. 9 | 6 p.m.

Jill Harmacinski is a staff reporter at the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover. Prior to her current position, she worked at the Salem News, the Daily News of Newburyport and the Ipswich Chronicle.

Recommended Viewing: Introduction to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law

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 the Rhode Island Foundation, 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, Linda Pizzuti Henry, Connecticut Public and GBH-Boston.