30 Minute Skills: Data Cleaning 101 | This lesson is an introduction to cleaning datasets obtained online or through public records requests and is instructed by NEFAC’s Maggie Mulvihill, a professor at Boston University. By completing this lesson, you will: (1) understand what data cleaning is and why it’s necessary (2) learn about the free tools available to help clean data and (3) begin building your data cleaning skills.


FOIA Battles: Looking Back at 20 Years of Media Lawsuits | Austin Kocher, a research assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Transactional Research Access Clearinghouse and FOIA Project, discusses a recent report describing trends during the last 20 years of media lawsuits under the federal Freedom of Information Act. View discussion notes and links as well as learn more about how NEFAC is helping to strengthen FOIA here.


Free Speech, Incitement and the First Amendment | NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman dispels several First Amendment misconceptions for WMTW-Portland. In this interview, which followed the decision by Twitter and Facebook to suspend President Trump’s accounts, Silverman explains where the First Amendment lines are drawn with respect to private companies and the advocacy of unlawful activity.


The Right to Record Police: A Look at Martin v. Rollins | Shannon Jankowski, E.W. Scripps Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, discusses the freedom to record police in the First Circuit and what implications a recent decision has on the public’s right to document government activity. The Reporters Committee, NEFAC and other media organizations filed an amicus brief in the case in 2019. Discussion notes and links here.


Gun Violence in Connecticut and the Importance of Local, Investigative Journalism | Keila Torres Ocasio, Managing Editor of Investigations for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, discusses a recent series on gun violence in the state, the reporting process behind the stories and why local investigative journalism is essential to communities. Discussion links and notes can be found here. Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


Hate Speech in America | NEFAC and the Providence Community Library presented a panel discussion on hate speech and the First Amendment. The program features Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island; Michaelle Larracuente, dean of Student Culture of Achievement at First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary; Elana Rosenberg, executive director of Youth Pride Inc.; and NEFAC’s Gregory V. Sullivan.


Documenting Misconduct and Seeking Accountability From County Sheriffs in Maine | Erin Rhoda, editor at the Bangor Daily News, describes a series of stories she and her colleagues reported that detail the lack of accountability among county sheriffs in Maine. Watch video. Discussion links and notes here. Click here to learn about how NEFAC is advocating for more law enforcement transparency.


Access to Vt. Courts During COVID-19: Speaking Up, Demanding Transparency | Tiffany Tan, a reporter at the Bennington Banner, explains how access to the Vermont judicial system has been limited during the COVID-19 pandemic and why citizens should be demanding more transparency. Watch video. Discussion links and notes here. Click here to learn about how NEFAC is helping during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Transparency and the Boston Police Department: Making Misconduct Records Publicly Accessible | Evan Allen, a reporter at The Boston Globe, discusses a new database she and her colleagues created to help citizens search misconduct records within the Boston Police Department. Watch video. Discussion links and notes can be found here. Click here to learn about how NEFAC is advocating for police transparency.


The EB-5 Scandal: Local Journalism, Public Records and Fighting for the Right to Know in Vermont | Anne Galloway, editor and founder of VTDigger, explains her newsroom’s ongoing legal effort to obtain public records related to the state’s EB-5 scandal. Watch video. Discussion links and notes can be found here. Click here to learn about NEFAC’s work in Vermont and the state’s public records law.


The Laurie List: Accessing the Names of Police Officers with Credibility Issues | NEFAC’s Gregory V. Sullivan, general counsel to Union Leader Corp., explains a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision that could result in the release of a secret list of police officers with credibility issues. Watch video and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Discussion links and notes can be found here.


Unraveling the Truth: Fake News and the Election | NEFAC’s Emily Sweeney, a reporter at The Boston Globe, and Laura Saunders, a professor at Simmons University, share media literacy tips and how we can best vet information found online. The program is presented by Framingham State University and supported by NEFAC’s Featured Speaker Program. Contact us if you would like to schedule a presentation or reserve an expert speaker.


Police Treatment of Protesters and the Press in Providence | Steven Brown, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, describes recent protests in and around Providence, and how the police are treating members of the press and peaceful demonstrators. Video here. Discussion links and notes can be found here. More information on the right to protest and police accountability.


Staying Safe as a Journalist: What You Need to Know | Viewers will learn how to prepare themselves for coverage of protests, interactions with law enforcement and the health risks posed by COVID-19. This in-depth conversation features Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times, Daniel McFadden of the ACLU-Massachusetts, Tara O’Neill of Hearst Connecticut and Stephanie Sugars of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.


Accessing Public Health Data During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, led a discussion on the challenges facing open government during the current pandemic. The presentation was part of the 2020 NFOIC FOI Summit and featured speakers from the COVID Tracking Project, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and The New York Times.


Internal Affairs Reports and Accountability Within the Worcester Police Department | Brad Petrishen of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette describes his newspaper’s ongoing efforts to obtain Internal Affairs reports and other law enforcement records from the city’s police department. Watch video here. Discussion notes and links here. Learn more about the need for police transparency and NEFAC’s work here.


Police in Schools: Transparency Concerns and the Challenges of Keeping SROs Accountable | Derek Brouwer at Seven Days talks about an incident at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans and the challenges of reporting on School Resource Officers (SROs) in Vermont. Watch video here. Discussion notes and links here. View more videos and subscribe to NEFAC’s YouTube channel here.


Law Enforcement Transparency, Boston Police and the Massachusetts Public Records Law | Jessie Rossman at the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts discusses a recent lawsuit against the Boston Police Department for records about use of force incidents and surveillance of citizens. According to the lawsuit, officials have regularly responded to the requests with silence and delay. Watch video here.


Government Surveillance at U.S. Borders: A Look at the First Amendment and Alasaad v. Wolf | Gabe Rottman at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press about Alasaad v. Wolf, discusses a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case involves 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who were subjected to searches of their electronic devices at the border. Watch video here.


The Gannett Family: Creating the First Amendment Museum in Augusta | Genie Gannett, president and co-founder of the First Amendment Museum in Augusta, Maine, describes the publishing career of her late grandfather Guy Gannett, the civil rights advocacy of her late grandmother, and the history of the museum and the building her family once called home. Watch video here and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


Colonial and Early American Journalism: Revisiting Boston’s Newspaper Row | Manny Paraschos, a professor emeritus at Emerson College, talks about Newspaper Row in Boston, once the epicenter of publishing and New England journalism. Professor Paraschos takes us back in time to describe how this area helped shape our current media landscape. Watch this video and read the show notes to learn more.