Blog

Explainer: Online Access to State Court Records

Do you need a crash course on a First Amendment or open government topic? Let us help. Email justin@nefac.org with your questions. By Lyndsey Wajert Many public records such as real estate documents and police logs are conveniently found online. But most New Englanders in need of judicial records must still travel to individual courthouses, submit […]

United States Must Remain Beacon as World Jails More Journalists

By Edward Fitzpatrick The bayonet scar on Omar Bah’s left hand reminds him of the dangers faced by journalists worldwide. The scar reminds him of what dictators and other authoritarian leaders think of a free press. The scar reminds him of how crucial it is for the United States to stand as a beacon of […]

Maine State Agency Policies on Access to Public Records: Findings and Recommendations

The following report was prepared by Sigmund Schutz, an attorney at Preti Flaherty in Portland, Me., and a member of New England First Amendment Coalition‘s Board of Directors. Schutz wrote this report on behalf of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. The Maine Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”) does not require that state agencies adopt […]

Net Neutrality Protects Free Flow of Ideas

By Edward Fitzpatrick Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants you to believe that killing net neutrality would be a big win for the little guy. The former Verizon lawyer wants you to believe he’s acting in the best interest of the public — not in the interest of big broadband companies such as Verizon, […]

Reporters Share Tips on How to Enlist, Engage News Sources

The following is one of several articles recapping NEFAC’s 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Full coverage of the program can be found here. By Nadine El-Bawab “When you take time to build a relationship with someone . . . and you care about getting the story right, they become invested in your story . . […]

Rezendes: Trust Your Hunches

The following is one of several articles recapping NEFAC’s 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Full coverage of the program can be found here. By Daniel McLoone Sometimes the best investigative stories are the ones that start as a hunch, according to Mike Rezendes, an investigative reporter with The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team. Rezendes spoke to […]

McGrory: Globe Focuses on Delivering News Readers Find Worth Their Time and Money

The following is one of several articles recapping NEFAC’s 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Full coverage of the program can be found here. By Kaitlyn Mangelinkx “Journalism is expensive and important,” Brian McGrory, editor of The Boston Globe, said as he began a speech to journalism fellows at the seventh annual New England First Amendment […]

Is Heckling a Speaker a Crime?

By Daniel J. Klau Short Answer: It depends (my favorite two words as a lawyer). Fuller Answer: Isolated heckles by an individual are protected speech under the First Amendment. But an intentional and sustained effort to disrupt a lawful public assembly by heckling the speaker is unlawful in many states — and it should be. […]

Former AP Top Editor Advises Journalists to Engage with Readers, Investigate and Collaborate

The following is one of several articles recapping NEFAC’s 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Full coverage of the program can be found here. By Jesse Goodman Kathleen Carroll, former executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press, said today’s journalists need to reach out to their readers through investigative reporting and news collaborations. […]

Watchdog Reporters Show How to Dig Deep for In-Depth Stories

The following is one of several articles recapping NEFAC’s 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Full coverage of the program can be found here. By Nadine El-Bawab “Get closer to the big story using a series of small stories; by doing smaller stories over time, you get a sort of expertise.” Pulitzer Prize winner Eric […]