Silverman Begins as NEFAC Executive Director; Cavanagh to Remain with Coalition in Advisory Role


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Justin Silverman, an attorney based in Westborough, Mass., and a former board member of the New England First Amendment Coalition, is NEFAC’s new executive director. Silverman assumed the role Sept. 1 and replaces Rosanna Cavanagh, who spent four years in the position before resigning to focus on her growing family. Cavanagh will continue to work with NEFAC in an advisory role.

“It has been an honor to serve as NEFAC’s first executive director, working with our dedicated board of directors for the last four years to build a coalition for open government in New England,” Cavanagh said.

Under Cavanagh’s leadership, NEFAC solidified its role as the leading advocate for open government in the region. She helped establish the group’s annual New England First Amendment Institute, a three-day intensive investigative journalism training for 25 journalists working in the region. Cavanagh also oversaw the coalition’s most successfulannual awards luncheon earlier this year, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winner James Risen of The New York Times.

As the new executive director, Silverman will now build upon those efforts, focusing on fundraising and educational programming. He will serve as the group’s lead advocate for the First Amendment and the public’s right to know.

“I have full confidence that Justin Silverman will be an excellent leader for NEFAC going forward who will work tenaciously to fulfill our mission,” Cavanagh said. “His broad skill set, including his background in journalism and media law, well prepare him for his new role.”

Prior to becoming an attorney, Silverman reported for several newspapers, including theSyracuse Post-Standard and his hometown paper, The Cape Cod Times. While an undergraduate journalism student at Syracuse University, he started and eventually published for three years a bi-weekly newspaper for students at both SU and Cornell University. The venture won 16 awards for journalism excellence from the New York Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

As a Suffolk University Law School student, Silverman worked full-time for the Boston-based firm, Prince Lobel Tye, LLP, and interned at Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. His work has been cited in multiple law reviews and published in a textbook on student speech and privacy rights. Silverman joined the NEFAC Board of Directors in 2010.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to build upon the work of Rose and our directors,” said Silverman, who lives in Newton, Mass., with his wife and two children. “NEFAC’s cause is one that can be shared by all New Englanders: protect our First Amendment freedoms and hold government accountable. I look forward to advocating for that cause and making NEFAC an even stronger force than it is today.”

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.