Veteran Vermont journalist Michael Donoghue wins national award

Veteran Vermont journalist, journalism educator, and free-press advocate Michael Donoghue has been chosen as one of three recipients of a national honor from the Journalism Education Association.

Donoghue will be recognized as a “Friend of Scholastic Journalism” at an awards ceremony Nov. 18 at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Dallas.

Having covered virtually every news beat in Vermont, including sports, for the Burlington Free Press, Donoghue retired in October 2015 after more than 45 years. He continues working as a freelance correspondent for a variety of media outlets including the Shelburne News and The Citizen.

Donoghue has also had a long career as an adjunct professor of journalism and student advisor at St. Michael’s College. The recipient of many journalism and first amendment honors, he is currently the executive director of the Vermont Press Association.

In announcing its award recipients, the JEA called Donoghue “a true friend of scholastic journalism” and specifically pointed to Donoghue’s lead role this year in advocating for Vermont legislation that extends freedom of expression and freedom of the press protections to high school and college journalists. Donoghue rallied support for the new law including backing from the Vermont Press Association and the New England First Amendment Coalition.

“When the bill finally passed, he made sure that the student journalists were present to witness the governor’s signing of the bill at a special ceremony,” nominator Nancy Olson wrote.

The Vermont Legislature also has called on Donoghue through the years to help in re-writing laws on both Vermont public records and open meetings.

Founded in 1924, JEA is based at Kansas State University. The organization supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, promoting professionalism, and encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement.

The other JEA award recipients are Tina Cleavelin with the Jostens yearbook publishing company in Denver, and Ernest Hooper, an editor and columnist at the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa, Fla.

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