Faculty Profile

Mike Donoghue

Executive Director, Vermont Press Association

I joined the journalism faculty as an adjunct professor at Saint Michael's in September 1985 and also serve as an academic adviser for about 20 students. I have worked for over 40 years as a news and sports writer for The Burlington Free Press, Vermont's leading news source, and have directed the newsroom intern program for over 12 years.

My desire to teach journalism comes from a career filled with a deep interest in helping future journalists. At the College I have taught a variety of courses, primarily Mass Communications and Society, Media Law and Ethics, Practicum and Advanced Reporting. I am also a former co-adviser to The Defender, the award-winning Saint Michael's student newspaper, founded by my late father, John D. Donoghue '32.

I also am a frequent speaker at professional training sessions, schools and other public gatherings. I have served as a trainer to numerous professional groups including the Vermont Press Association, New England Press Association, New England Society of Newspapers Editors and Investigative Reporters and Editors.  I am also called upon to meet with international journalists passing through Vermont and was one of four Americans invited as an instructor at a national conference in Ireland in June 1998 after the passing of that country's Freedom of Information Act. I am well known as a strong advocate of open government and has appeared in court multiple times to fight successfully for the release of court documents or to keep courtroom doors open. I was a founding member of the Vermont Coalition for Open Government (2005). I have been called on regularly to provide testimony before the Vermont legislature on a wide range of First Amendment related issues.

During my two terms (1983-85) as president of the Vermont Press Association, I was instrumental in getting the association anchored at Saint Michael's and with getting cameras into Vermont courtrooms. I am currently the part-time Executive Director of the VPA, which helps provide leads on jobs, internships, scholarships and more to students, while also hosting seminars and speakers. I served two terms on the governing board of the New England Press Association and chaired three committees: publications, legislative and outreach. I was elected in 2011 to serve on the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition. I was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2003, served as its national president for two years (2006-08), and remain on the NSSA board. I also served two terms as president of the Vermont Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. I was elected to three terms on the Board of Trustees at Southern Vermont College.

I have won my news and sports awards for my work at the local, state, regional and national level. I have been selected for five Halls of Fame including the inaugural class of the New England Press Association's Hall of Fame (2000) and into the inaugural class of the Society of Professional Journalists/National Freedom of Information Coalition Hall of Fame (2003). I won the 2007 Yankee Quill Award, the highest award for print and electronic journalists in New England. Saint Michael's College presented me with the John D. Donoghue Award in 1992 for me work with the student newspaper, while I was the featured honoree at Norwich University's Media Day in 2008.

Life Off Campus:

I live with my wife, Ann Marie, in South Burlington.

Mike Donoghue, executive director of the Vermont Press Association with its headquarters in the Saint Michael's Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts Department, was one of the keynote speakers as part of a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. program in late January at Champlain Valley Union High School.  He was invited to talk about “Making a Real Difference in Your Community and State: The Multimedia Journalist.” CVU Principal Adam Bunting invited about a dozen role models to be speakers, including state legislators and leaders, law enforcement and others to focus on the importance of community engagement and what it means to be invested in the community.  Donoghue drew on his longtime work as a writer for the Burlington Free Press and as an adjunct professor and adviser at Saint Michael's during his talk and answering questions.
(posted June 2019)

Mike Donoghue, who runs the Vermont Press Association from his campus office and was a longtime adjunct and adviser in journalism, was honored recently by The Vermont Association of Broadcasters with its “Friend of Broadcasting Award” on Saturday. Mike is only the third recipient since the VAB started it in 2007. It was for a combination of nearly five decades as a reporter at the Burlington Free Press, three decades as an adjunct journalism professor at Saint Michael’s and about four decades as an officer VPA.
(posted January 2019)

Mike Donoghue, longtime adjunct professor in the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts Department, made a half-day presentation during the annual Vermont Court Clerks College.  He was a keynote speaker on “Dealing with the Media” and later was joined on a panel by TV news executives from WPTZ and Fox 44/ABC 22 to discuss other media issues and field questions from court personnel from throughout the state. Mike also was the invited keynote speaker at the annual Charlotte News Writers’ Workshop.  Mike talked about the importance of community newspapers serving as the watchdog of the three branches of government and for informing citizens about the important issues in their community, state and country. He also provided the audience with tips that helped him to uncover stories or conduct interviews in many of his award-winning stories for the Burlington Free Press. He covered every kind of news story from general assignment, to local, state and federal issues, features and sports.
(posted June 2016)

Mike Donoghue, longtime adjunct professor of journalism and veteran reporter for the Burlington Free Press, in July was presented with the Vermont Press Association’s Matthew Lyon Award for his lifetime commitment to the First Amendment and the public's right to know the truth in Vermont. The selection was based also in part for Mike’s ongoing help with students at Saint Michael’s since 1985.  He was recruited by former Journalism Department Chairman Giff Hart to initially teach Media Law, and Mike later added an extra emphasis to ethics in that class and has taught a wind range of other journalism courses, from the introductory level to advanced classes. He also has served as an academic adviser for scores of Saint Michael’s graduates. This was the first time a journalist has won the award since it was established in 2005.   The first Lyon Award winner was U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, a 1961 Saint Michael’s graduate, for his efforts improving the Federal Freedom of Information Act and other right to know work.
(posted September 2015)

Mike Donoghue, longtime adjunct professor in journalism and Burlington Free Press writer, was chosen from among Gannett employees nationwide as the winner of one of the international media company's top awards. On April 3, during an awards ceremony at Gannett/USA Today Headquarters in McLean, VA, Gannett made the announcement that Mike is this year's recipient of the "Greater Good Award" for his First Amendment work, including his reporting on a Vermont State Police trooper who officials say bilked taxpayers out of nearly $213,000 by filing false timecards. The trooper has been convicted, sent to prison and ordered to pay restitution. The State of Vermont also has reformed how it deals with pension laws to be able to better recover from convicted employees.

Mike Donoghue, longtime adjunct professor in the media studies, journalism and digital arts spoke at the annual national convention for Investigative Reporters and Editors in Boston about seeking successful ways to obtain public records from unwilling federal, state and local  government officials.  "The Ask: Requesting and negotiating for data" was part of the association's three-day convention, which had about 1,400 journalists, educators and students attending. IRE, founded in 1975, is a worldwide organization that allows journalists to share story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources.

Learn What Matters