Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Receive NEFAC’s 2022 Freedom of Information Award

Newspaper Prevailed in Landmark Public Records Battle with City Police Department

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 | justin@nefac.org

The New England First Amendment Coalition will honor the Worcester Telegram & Gazette with its 2022 Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award.

The FOI Award is given each year to a New England journalist or team of journalists for a body of work from the previous calendar year that protects or advances the public’s right to know under federal or state law.

Preference is given to those who overcome significant official resistance.

The Telegram & Gazette began what would become multi-year legal battle against the Worcester Police Department for access to internal affairs reports in 2018. A judge ruled in its favor last year and in January of this year awarded punitive damages — the first time a court has done so since the Massachusetts public records law was reformed in 2016.

The Telegram & Gazette will receive the FOI 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. 

The coalition will also present its Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award and Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award during the program. Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer of FRONTLINE, will receive the First Amendment Award. The Citizenship Award recipient will be announced soon.

Previous recipients of the FOI Award are The Bangor Daily News (2021); Hearst Connecticut Media Group (2020); the Hartford Courant (2019); Todd Wallack of The Boston Globe (2018); The Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine (2017); Jenifer McKim of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (2016); James W. Foley (posthumously), the war correspondent and New Hampshire native killed by the Islamic State (2015); Brent Curtis of the Rutland Herald in Vermont (2014); and Don Stacom of the Hartford Courant (2013).

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 University and Emerson College.

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 and Connecticut Public.