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NEFAC offers study in FOI and investigative reporting to 25 New England journalists

 PROVIDENCE, R.I. – What will bring Pulitzer Prize, Emmy and Polk award winning reporters and editors, the region’s top First Amendment lawyers and educational leaders to Dedham, Mass., this fall?

You, if you’re among the 25 New England journalists chosen to study FOI law and investigative reporting techniques at the three-day First Amendment Institute, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

“Every reporter can be an investigative reporter – on any difficult story – by using the same investigative reporting tools and ability to get important documents that full-time investigative reporters rely on. Learn many of these techniques at the New England First Amendment Institute,” said Walter V. Robinson, longtime editor of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team and a Pulitzer winner in 2003 for exposing Roman Catholic priest sexual abuses in Massachusetts.

Robinson, a distinguished professor at Northeastern University, will be among the faculty taking part in the curriculum presented by the New England First Amendment Coalition and Northeastern’s Initiative for Investigative Reporting.

Here’s just a sampling of the professionals taking part in the sessions and the range of topics:

- Sara Ganim, a 24-year-old reporter from the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Penn., on her Pulitzer winning coverage of the Penn State abuse scandal.

- Dick Lehr, author, former Globe investigative reporter, Pulitzer finalist and Boston University professor, on using narrative flow to enhance investigative reporting.

- Tim White and Ted Nesi of the Emmy Award winning WPRI 12 in Providence on the anatomy of an investigative piece from start to finish.

- Mark Horvit, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, on using social media in investigations.

- Susan Snyder of the Philadelphia Inquirer and a 2012 Pulitzer winner for coverage of violence in Philadelphia schools and Joe Bergantino, co-director of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Emmy winner, former WBZ-TV I-Team member and former correspondent for ABC News, are on a panel telling “Tales from the Trenches.”

- Matthew Kauffman of the Hartford Courant, a Pulitzer finalist for work on the suicide rate of U.S. military personnel, on database reporting.

-  Attorneys Elizabeth Ritvo and Robert Bertsche of Boston and Lea Thompson, former Dateline NBC correspondent, on the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC’s executive director, said the program is supported by a grant from the McLean Contributionship on behalf of The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H., for which she is “eternally grateful.”

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 15 from journalists at all career levels with a demonstrated interest in investigative work and right-to-know issues, and successful applicants will be notified by Aug. 30.

The workshops will take place at the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s headquarters.

A 2011 fellow had this to say about the experience in an evaluation, “The Institute touched on so many different issues that I did not leave thinking there was anything I missed. I was thrilled.” Another participant said “(I)t was a great balance of information about public records and how to get them, anecdotal experiences and inspiration.”

New England First Amendment Institute 2012 Agenda

Application PDF

Letter of Recommendation PDF

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