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Friday, November 13, 2009

Concord lawyer honored for fighting for free press

I was honored to attend last night's Nackey Loeb Dinner in Manchester to benefit the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. The Union Leader reports on this year's honoree for his work in opening up government records to the public.
Concord attorney William Chapman said winning the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Award is like getting an award for skiing. Fighting for a free press and open access to the government isn't work, he said, it's fun.

Chapman, of the Concord law firm of Orr and Reno, was honored last night at the seventh annual Loeb First Amendment Award Honors dinner at the Radisson Hotel for his 37 years of work in media law.

Chapman is considered a top authority on New Hampshire's freedom of public access and media law and has argued dozens of cases involving access to records and government proceedings on behalf of New Hampshire media outlets. Chapman also helped set the standard for protecting reporters' sources in criminal cases and public access to court and government records.
Our work on the Josiah Bartlett Center often relies on getting access to public records from state officials, who are sometimes cooperative and sometimes not. As the distinction between free speech and free press continues to diminish in importance, we are happy to salute Mr. Chapman for his life's work.

Robert Foster, the recently deceased publisher of Foster's Daily Democrat, received the annual Quill & Ink Award for his years of work putting out one of New Hampshire's finest newspapers. His contributions to journalism are noted, and will be missed.

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