A 32-year-old journalist set to begin a reporting job with CNN.com in Atlanta died Sunday after going into cardiac arrest while being treated for a staph infection in his kidneys, according to the National Association of Black Journalists.
Michael J. Feeney, a former reporter for The New York Daily News and immediate past president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, was due to start his dream job as an entertainment reporter at CNN.com when he became ill, his mother said in an obituary published in The New York Daily News.
His death sent shock waves through the media community and was trending on Facebook on Monday morning.
On Twitter, Rev. Al Sharpton called Feeney a “young dynamic journalist.”
NABJ President Sarah Glover said in a news release she was shocked to hear of Feeney’s death. He was named NABJ’s Emerging Journalist of the Year in 2010 and led the New York chapter to win the NABJ Chapter of the Year Award.
“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,” Glover said.
NABJ founder Allison J. Davis said in the news release that she watched Feeney grow “from a young inquisitive child into a remarkable man and journalist.”
“Michael often thanked me and the late great Reggie Harris for igniting the spark that ultimately became his profession, but it was I who thanked him for making us so proud of his many accomplishments in the industry we so dearly loved,” Davis said.
Classmates at Feeney’s alma mater, Delaware State University, have established a memorial fund for his family.