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Beloved Journalist Michael J. Feeney Dies at 32

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Michael J. Feeney, seen by many as a rising star in the field of journalism and a champion for industry diversity, died Sunday from complications related to a staph infection of the kidneys, according to published reports. He was 32.

Feeney, a former reporter for The New York Daily News had also worked for the Associated Press, the North Jersey Record and had done freelance work for JET’s sister website, EBONY.com, TheGrio.com, and covered the unrest in Baltimore in 2015 for NBC BLK. He was set to start a new job with CNN.com in Atlanta when he was hospitalized.

In 2010, he received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Emerging Journalist of the Year award. The next year he was elected president of the New York Association of Black Journalists and served in that position until December 2015.

“Michael was a great journalist and an even greater person,” current NYABJ president Julie Walker told JETMag.com. “He worked tirelessly to further the goals of NYABJ and to revitalize the chapter.”

A memorial fund on YouCaring.com dedicated to Feeney has raised more than $19,000 so far.

In a statement on NABJ’s website, the organization’s president Sarah Glover called Feeney “a tenacious journalist who possessed a passion and energy for telling stories reflective of diverse communities — stories which otherwise might not have been told.”

Known for his contributions to the field of journalism and for mentoring many younger colleagues, Feeney was a 2005 graduate of Delaware State University, where he was an active member of the NABJ student chapter there as well as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

He is survived by his mother Reba Willis, a twin brother, a sister, a niece and nephew. Funeral arrangements were pending on Tuesday.