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NHPR Honored at Loeb School’s First Amendment Awards Celebration

On Thursday Oct. 21, NHPR received the Quill & Ink Award from the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, during a ceremony at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. NHPR shared honors with Gilles Bissonette, legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, who was recognized with a First Amendment Award for his leadership in the fight for transparency and accountability in government.

The Quill & Ink Award, which is given only occasionally as part of the Loeb School’s First Amendment Award program, was presented to Jim Schachter, president & CEO of NHPR, by Katie McQuaid, a Founding Member of the Loeb School.

McQuaid said, “The First Amendment establishes a free press as one of the bedrocks of our republic. Yet we have seen journalism - and the process of honest inquiry into public affairs that earned the press an honored place in our Constitution - demonized in our culture during the recent past.

“Assaults on reporters and reporting have not stopped with ugly words. Across the country, and here in New Hampshire, there has been a rising tide of threats and physical violence targeting journalists pursuing their mission of public service.

“In 2022, journalists from New Hampshire Public Radio have been subjected to repeated, cowardly attacks - not at work, but at their homes. Bricks tossed through windows. Vicious language spray painted across doors and walls. After each of these events, the targeted journalists went right back to work, producing urgent, independent, original journalism for the people of the Granite State alongside their colleagues in the NHPR newsroom.

“And NHPR, undeterred, has continued to broadcast and publish the accountability journalism that the people of New Hampshire have come to count on over the last 40 years. Not for being attacked, but for standing up to the attackers and courageously engaging in the daily act of journalism, we present the people of New Hampshire Public Radio with the 2022 Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications Quill & Ink Award.”

In receiving the award, Schachter expressed gratitude to Bissonette for his contributions to a free, unfettered press in New Hampshire and New England.

Schachter continued, “I’m honored to be here to accept this award on behalf of the journalists of New Hampshire Public Radio. I’m representing them because, frankly, they’re reluctant to be applauded for the events that brought them to the judges’ attention."

“As you heard, one of the reporters on our Document investigative team and her boss, our news director, were the subjects of repeated acts of vandalism and threatsat their homes this past spring that remain under investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement,” he said. “We continue to hope they catch the coward responsible for these acts.”

According to Schachter, it was the NHPR journalists’ perseverance in the face of attack that merited recognition. That’s what’s being honored here today, I think,” he said. “Not that journalists can become victims for doing their jobs. Rather, what’s worthy of honor is the courage that journalists demonstrate by doing their jobs - and by doing them in the public interest."

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