Michael Donoghue has been an award-winning news and sports writer for the Burlington Free Press for over 40 years. He also has been an adjunct professor of journalism and mass communications at St. Michael’s College in Colchester since 1985. He has been an officer with the Vermont Press Association since 1979 and a former board member for the New England Press Association (1995-2001). He has served continuously as State Chair of Project Sunshine in Vermont since it was started by the Society of Professional Journalists in 1990.
Mr. Donoghue is often credited as being a key driving force behind the improvement to Vermont’s Open Government (public records and meetings) legislation. As president of the Vermont Press Association (VPA), he was a leader in the successful fight to allow for cameras in Vermont courtrooms in the mid 1980s. He has made his own successful legal arguments to judges about keeping courtrooms open and not sealing court documents.
He and the Free Press have been honored for his work on a local, state, regional and national level. He was selected in 2007 as the winner of the Yankee Quill Award, the top lifetime honor for print and electronic journalism in New England. He has been inducted into five Halls of Fame, including as a charter member for the New England Press Association’s Hall of Fame (2000) and as a charter member for the Society of Professional Journalists/ National Freedom of Information Coalition Hall of Fame (2003). Mr. Donoghue is a frequent speaker on a wide range of First Amendment topics and in 1998 he was one of four American presenters selected for a Freedom of Information conference in Dublin, Ireland. He is a former National President of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (2006-08). Mr. Donoghue has been invited to serve as a judge for state, regional, national and foreign press contests. Mr. Donoghue also has taught at the Vermont Police Academy, helped write “Covering Campus Crime” for the Arlington-based Student Press Law Center, and helped the VPA establish its first statewide high school journalism conference.