Programs and Services

NEFAC protects the First Amendment and the public’s right to know through education, defense and advocacy. The coalition provides many public services and programs that help strengthen communities and newsrooms throughout the region. Most recently we have focused our efforts on police accountability and transparency, open government during the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting the freedom to protest.

Here’s a look at some of our other banner programs and public services.

30 Minute Skills

This program provides knowledge that can be used immediately to improve newsgathering, data collection, storytelling and other areas of journalism and First Amendment law. These short classes include Web Scraping, How to Protect Women Journalists, and HIPAA and Public Records.

View all classes here.

First Amendment and the Free Press

We provide in-person and remote presentations, interviews and other discussions about the First Amendment and the role journalists play in our democracy. We invite local journalists to pull back the curtain to their newsrooms and explain how they and their colleagues do their jobs — an essential part of building trust between citizens and the reporters covering their communities.

View all recorded interviews and presentations here.

FOI Guide

Want to learn more about freedom of information laws in New England? Start here. Our multimedia guide features answers to commonly asked questions, links to notable caselaw and valuable resources, a state-by-state legislation tracker, as well as video tutorials and interviews with journalists on how they use public records in their reporting.

Start exploring New England FOI laws here.

Guest Speakers and Instructors

We provide access to both in-person and remote guest speakers who can teach lessons on a variety of journalism and First Amendment topics. Reserve a guest speaker or instructor and learn more about how the coalition can meet your classroom needs.

Email NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman at justin@nefac.org.

Legal Advocacy

NEFAC drafts and signs onto amicus briefs, letters and statements addressing important First Amendment issues in all New England states and on the national level. Recent advocacy involved the right to document police activity, the release of law enforcement misconduct records on state FOI laws, strategic lawsuits against public participation, and the ability of citizens to attend government meetings remotely during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read all our amicus briefs, advocacy letters and statements here.

NEFAC Report

Every month NEFAC publishes a summary of all First Amendment and open government news in the region. This newsletter features original content, resources for citizens of all backgrounds and links to all major news stories in New England and beyond.

Subscribe and read all previous reports here.

New England First Amendment Awards

We honor each year individuals who have promoted and defended the First Amendment throughout New England. During its annual ceremony, the coalition presents the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, the Michael Donoghue Freedom of Information Award and the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award.

Learn about our awards and all recipients here.

New England First Amendment Institute

The institute is an annual multi-day intensive training program on freedom of information law and investigative reporting techniques for 25 working New England journalists. The institute is provided by NEFAC at no cost to those who attend. It gives editors, reporters and producers the support and training necessary to become accomplished investigative journalists.

Learn about our Institute and how you can apply here.

Press Commentary

Members of our coalition are frequently featured in the press and quoted on matters of open government and the First Amendment. Our advocacy can be seen through commentary in news stories, interviews on television and radio, and op/eds appearing in newspapers throughout the region. If you’re a journalist in need of an expert opinion, please email justin@nefac.org.

View all our media commentary here.

Public Records 101

NEFAC recently produced introductory lessons on each New England state’s respective public records law. These lessons are taught by open government experts and attorneys. Also included are lessons on the federal Freedom of Information Act.

View all lessons here.

Sunshine Week

Every March, NEFAC celebrates Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. Our coalition hosts public events to discuss the importance of open government and publishes columns addressing FOI concerns.

View all NEFAC’s Sunshine Week programming here.