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Deadline extended to Jan. 14 for NEFAC awards to citizen, journalist who advanced the public’s right to know

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The New England First Amendment Coalition is extending to Jan. 14 the entry deadline on new awards to private citizens and professional journalists who advanced the public’s right to know in 2012.

Rosanna Cavanagh, NEFAC executive director, said the fact the awards were introduced only last month and the amount of interest displayed across the region prompted many requests for an extension.

“These are new and we wanted to give all potential entrants a fair chance, so we’re giving everybody some extra time,” she said.

The Citizen Right to Know Award and the FOI Award will be presented for the first time at NEFAC’s annual luncheon Feb. 8, when Philip Balboni, founder of the regional, 24-hour TV news network NECN and co-founder of the international news site GlobalPost, also will receive the Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award.

Both new awards will be presented to New Englanders for activity in the six-state region in calendar year 2012.

Candidates for the Citizen Award should have shown tenacity or bravery in the face of difficulty in obtaining information the public has a right to know. Nominations can be made on the attached forms. They should be emailed to rosecavanagh.nefac@gmail.com or faxed to 401-751-7542.

The FOI Award will go to a journalist, pair of journalists or media institution for work that protects or advances the public’s right to know under federal or state law. Preference will be given to applicants who overcome significant official resistance. Work in broadcast, online or print media is eligible.

FOI entrants should submit their story or series along with a cover letter explaining the process of getting the story, why it was a significant accomplishment and how it affected the public. Entries may be submitted electronically, though originals will be checked prior to notification of the winner. The entry forms are attached.

The awards luncheon will be held in conjunction with the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s 2013 convention and trade show at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Tickets may be purchased on our Web site.

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