Bissonnette Is Loeb School First Amendment Award Honoree, NHPR Also Honored

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Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of ACLU-NH

Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH’s Legal Director, is this year’s Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications’ First Amendment Award honoree, and will be saluted by the School on Thursday, October 20, 2022.

The annual event honors New Hampshire individuals or groups that have advanced or exercised their First Amendment rights in some special or extraordinary way. Bissonnette was nominated for his work with stakeholders to improve the public’s right of access to information so the public can hold the government accountable, including a successful legal effort to reverse a 27-year-old precedent from 1993 that shielded the personnel files of government employees, including law enforcement, from public view.  

In addition to Bissonnette, New Hampshire Public Radio will be celebrated as recipient of The Nackey S. Loeb School’s Quill & Ink Award, not given annually, but reserved to recognize significant contributions to the First Amendment. NHPR is being honored for continuing to report the news, even as some of its staff were threatened with violence and had their homes vandalized.

The First Amendment Award Event on October 20 will be from 4pm-5:30pm at the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. The program will feature guest speaker Jonathan Martin, a senior political correspondent for The New York Times, a political analyst for CNN, and the co-author of the recent New York Times best-seller “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future.”

This event is open to the public, but space is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $100.00 each and will include admission to the event, and a copy of Martin’s book. 

The Loeb School’s First Amendment Award judges are Rod Doherty, former executive editor of Foster’s Daily Democrat, Retired NH Supreme Court Justice Richard Galway, Attorney Gregory Sullivan of Malloy & Sullivan, LPC., and previous First Amendment Award recipient Mary DeWinkeleer. 

The 2022 First Amendment Award Event is presented by M&T Bank. The growing list of Event sponsors includes Keynote Speaker Sponsor CCA Global Partners and The Brodsky Prize for Excellence in Student Journalism, First Amendment Award Sponsor Eversource, Book Sponsor AT&T, and Sunshine Sponsor Jay Lucas. Friends of the Nackey S. Loeb School Sponsors include Bank of America, The Elliot/Solution Health, Spectrum Marketing, Saint Anselm College’s Institute of Politics, and the Union Leader Corporation. Five Freedoms Sponsors are AARP-NH, Anagnost Companies, The Bernstein Shur Group, Borislow Insurance, Business & Industry Association, Catholic Medical Center, Cross Insurance, Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., Dumont Communications, Fidelity Investments, Jennifer Horn, The Laconia Daily Sun, Joyce and Dan Levesque, Louis Karno & Company Communications, Merchant’s Fleet, Montagne Powers Communications, NBT Bank, New Hampshire Beverage Association, Northeast Delta Dental, University of New Hampshire, Wash Street, Wieczorek Insurance and WIPFLI. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Learn more by contacting the School.

Past recipients of the Nackey S. Loeb School’s First Amendment Award include former state Attorney General Philip McLaughlin, former Keene Sentinel Executive Editor Thomas Kearney, The Laconia Citizen, former legislator Daniel Hughes, former Dover City Councilor David Scott, Londonderry High School Journalism Adviser Mary Lucas DeWinkeleer, First Amendment attorney William Chapman, ConVal School Board member Gail Pierson Cromwell, The Portsmouth Herald, David Lang and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, The Telegraph of Nashua, slain journalist James Foley, former Portsmouth Police officer John Connors, Timberlane Regional School Board member Donna Green, open government activist David Saad and the citizens’ group Right to Know New Hampshire, columnist Robert Azzi, the late VA whistleblower Dr. Ed Kois, Keene State College journalism professor Dr. Marianne Salcetti, and Webster, NH residents Tara Gunnigle and Jon Pearson.

The non-profit, non-partisan Nackey S. Loeb School was founded in 1999 by Nackey Scripps Loeb, the late president and publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Its mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment and to foster interest, integrity and excellence in journalism and communication. School classes, led by expert instructors attract students of all ages. New classes in community journalism, crisis communications, podcasting, open government, media literacy and misinformation have been added to core offerings in First Amendment law, digital marketing, public speaking, photography, public relations, writing and more.

For more information about the First Amendment Award Event and the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, or to purchase tickets, visit                                    

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