PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A New England group formed to increase freedom of information and government transparency named its first executive director.

Rosanna Cavanagh, who has law and business degrees from Cornell University, will lead the New England First Amendment Coalition.

Her appointment was announced early this month by the coalition’s president, Thomas Heslin, executive editor of The Providence Journal. Cavanagh, who has previously worked at the corporate law firm Ropes & Gray in Boston, said she was thrilled about her new job.

She quoted Judge Damon Keith, who said, “Democracies die behind closed doors,” and said the coalition’s ultimate goal is to strengthen democracy so that it truly serves and represents the people.