Michael J. Feeney, a former reporter for The New York Daily News and former president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, died Sunday. He was 32.
Feeney’s mother, Reba Willis, told The Daily News that her son died of complications from a staph infection of the kidneys. She said he’d been in Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, since Tuesday.
Feeney was past president of the New York Association of Black Journalists and the recipient of the national organization’s Emerging Journalist of the Year Award in 2010.
“He was a tenacious journalist who possessed a passion and energy for telling stories reflective of diverse communities — stories which otherwise might not have been told,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said on the group’s website.
“He was an immensely talented young black man for whom — like far too many of our young black men — death came way too early,” said NABJ founder DeWayne Wickham, who taught Feeney journalism at Delaware State University. Feeney graduated from the university in 2005.
The Teaneck native joined The Daily News in 2009 where he covered crime and later neighborhoods in upper Manhattan, including Harlem. He worked as an entertainment and culture reporter for The Record in New Jersey, and as a reporter for The Associated Press in Detroit and an AP intern in Baltimore. He also was a freelancer writer.
His mother said he was about to begin a job as an entertainment reporter at CNN.com when he became ill.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by a sister, Maria Feeney, and a twin brother, Anthony Feeney.