Oct. 27, 2009  

In Memoriam: Mike McQueen

Mike McQueenFrom Chapter President Julie Kay:

It is my sad duty to announce that Mike McQueen, the former president of the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, passed away over the weekend. McQueen served as president of our chapter from 1999 to 2000. On a personal note, he recruited me for the board — as he did many others — and remained a good friend. The entire South Florida journalism community will mourn Mike, a wonderful and kind man, as well as a top-notch journalist. We at SPJ have set up a scholarship in his honor.

If you’d like to donate to the Mike McQueen Scholarship Fund, please send your check to chapter administrator Tim Dodson at:

Tim Dodson Strategic Communications
780 NE 69th Street, Suite 807
Miami, FL 33138-5745

Checks should be made out to the Society of Professional Journalists and “Mike McQueen Scholarship Fund” should be included below on the subject line.

For more information, call Tim Dodson at 305-756-0735.

The local memorial service for Mike McQueen is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 at The Wolfe University Center Ballroom at Florida International University, 3000 N.E. 151st Street, North Miami , FL 33181. The phone number there is 305-919-5500. Bradley Bennett of the South Florida Times will lead the service. If you want more information or want to participate in the memorial service, please email/call him at BBennett@SFLTimes.com; Phone: 954-356-9360.

Below is the Associated Press obituary about Mike. Thanks to Michelle Morgante at Associated Press for providing this clip as well as Mike’s photo.

AP bureau chief Mike McQueen dies at 52
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS, La. — Mike McQueen, chief of bureau for The Associated Press in Louisiana and Mississippi, has died. He was 52.

McQueen, who had been on medical leave since the spring, died Sunday from complications of cancer and congestive heart failure.

McQueen’s journalism career spanned three decades, including two stints with the AP and work on two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper teams.

“Mike’s passion for stories and his love for fellow journalists could light up a room. He was a creative and caring editor and newsroom mentor. We are heartbroken about his passing,” said Kathleen Carroll, the AP’s executive editor.

In 2006, McQueen returned to the AP as assistant chief of bureau in New Orleans, helping manage the news report and AP’s relationship with newspapers in the two states. Later that year, he was promoted to chief of bureau.

“Mike took on a big challenge when he came back to the AP,” said Michael Giarrusso, AP’s regional news director for the South and West. “It was just months after Hurricane Katrina, and the two states, newspapers throughout the region and the AP were still dealing with the aftermath of the disaster.”

McQueen, formerly managing editor of The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, was part of a Knight-Ridder team of editors who traveled to the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. McQueen worked with the Sun Herald newspaper of Biloxi-Gulfport, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006.

“I will always remember him as a strong and able man who helped us in the time of our greatest need,” Executive Editor Stan Tiner said.

Earlier in his career, McQueen was an editor at The Miami Herald, where he was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team in 1993.

McQueen began his career in 1977 as a reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat after graduating from Florida State University. He had a master’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University.

McQueen joined AP for the first time in 1980, working in Miami as a reporter and editor, and then in Tallahassee as correspondent before joining The Miami Herald in 1984. McQueen later worked on the staffs of USA Today and Gannett News Service, and served as chair of the journalism and broadcasting sequence of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

McQueen was a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists and was the organization’s Southeast regional director from 1986 to 1988.

Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., said McQueen was an outstanding professional who helped promote diversity in journalism.

McQueen’s oldest son, Michael McQueen II, was killed in 2006. His roommate, a fellow former U.S. Army Ranger he served with in Afghanistan, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

“Even in times of great tragedy, when he lost his son, he was still calling Jackson to see if we needed anything from The Associated Press,” Agnew said.

Funeral arrangements were planned for later this week at St. Ana Episcopal Church in New Orleans, said his wife, Glenda McQueen.

Other survivors include his son Otto of Thibodaux, La.; a younger brother, Christopher McQueen of Miami; and a sister, Nicole Brewton of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

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