Michael J. Feeney, a former Daily News reporter who served as president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, died Sunday of complications from a staph infection in his kidneys. He was 32.
Feeney was set to begin his dream job as an entertainment reporter at CNN.com in Atlanta when he fell ill, his mother said.
“Mike did everything to help everyone,” his mother, Reba Willis, said Sunday. “He did whatever he could with any person who he came across who wanted to know anything about journalism and about life.”
Feeney had been in Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., since Tuesday, she said. He went into cardiac arrest at 1:15 p.m.
His death stunned those who knew him both within and outside of journalism circles.
“Just heard that Michael Feeney, young dynamic journalist died,” tweeted the Rev. Al Sharpton. “A good brother and fine journalist. Sad news, RIP Michael.”
Feeney, a Teaneck native, joined The News in 2009. A year later, he was named the emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black journalists. In 2011, Feeney was elected to serve the organization as New York chapter president.
“He was a dedicated leader of the organization and an outstanding journalist,” said Julie Walker, the group’s current president.
At New York’s Hometown Paper, Feeney initially worked the night shift and later moved to the paper’s borough section, where he covered Harlem and other Uptown neighborhoods.
“Mike gave me a long directory of contacts and a crash course about covering upper Manhattan and its diverse communities,” said Bruce Diamond, one of Feeney’s editors. “In the more than two years I worked with him, I never stopped learning.”
“He looked out for me big-time when I got to the Daily News,” said former News reporter Jan Ransom. “Every source I met raved about him — and naturally, by association, that meant I was in their good graces, too.”
Feeney graduated from Delaware State University in 2005. He worked for The Associated Press and later The Record in New Jersey.
Just days ago, Feeney was online posting about one of his favorite passions — professional wrestling.
Feeney also posted a message about a Super Bowl game he will never get to see.
“It’s going to be a hard pill to swallow for everyone,” Willis said. “He had so much more to accomplish. He is truly going to be missed.”
In addition to his mother, Feeney is survived by a sister, Maria Feeney; a twin brother, Anthony Feeney; a niece, and a nephew. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Source: New York Daily News | CHRISTINA CARREGA-WOODBY, REUVEN BLAU, LEONARD GREENE