Journalist Michael J. Feeney died Sunday from complications while being treated for kidney disease at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, his mother said. He was 32.
Feeney, who was president of the New York Association of Black Journalists from 2012 until December, was widely known for his efforts to diversify journalism, the help he provided to young journalists and for his interview coups.
A native of Teaneck, Feeney began his career with The Associated Press in Detroit and worked at the New York Daily News from 2009 to 2014, covering entertainment and northern Manhattan neighborhoods. He lived in Harlem before returning to Teaneck, said his mother, Reba Willis.
He was also a graduate of Delaware State University and “a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity,” recalled his friend, Austin Fenner.
Feeney covered President Barack Obama’s announcement of the Brother’s Keeper Alliance in the Bronx for NBC, wrote for TheGrio.com and Ebony and was freelancing for The Record in New Jersey at the time of his death, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Feeney interviewed Jay Z, Rihanna, Fetty Wap, Drake and many others during his career.
“What he liked most was helping people. He let people stay at his place, he mentored them and encouraged them. He just loved helping up-and-coming journalists,” and even encouraged the interns in the hospital striving to master medical procedures, Willis said.
In addition to Willis, Feeney leaves behind a sister, Maria Feeney, a twin brother, Anthony Feeney, and a niece and nephew. Funeral arrangements had not been finalized last night.