Mike Dunne, Veteran Reporter in Baton Rouge, Dies at 58

By: E&P Staff

Veteran reporter Mike Dunne of The Advocate of Baton Rouge died Sunday of complications from cancer. He was 58.

Dunne, a native of New Orleans and a resident of Baton Rouge, served in the U.S. Army and earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Louisiana State University in 1974.

He was working for the Alabama Journal when he was hired by the State-Times in Baton Rouge. He was second assistant city editor on the State-Times until he moved to general assignment reporting and the copy desk of the Morning Advocate in the early 1980s.

Dunne left the newspaper in 1990 to become an investigative reporter at WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge. He returned to newspaper reporting in 1993.

This spring, Dunne received the first America’s Wetland Conservationist of the Year award for stories on threats to Louisiana’s coast. Dunne and photographer Bevil Knapp are the authors of “America’s Wetland: Louisiana’s Vanishing Coast.”

R. King Milling, chairman of America’s Wetland Foundation, praised Dunne for his “no-nonsense approach to reporting on the issue of coastal land loss and his continued focus on the environmental issues surrounding its loss.”

Dunne won journalism awards for general assignment reporting, as well, covering police, courts, education and city government.

In the late 1980s, Dunne and Advocate reporter Bob Anderson received national honors three times in one year for stories on coastal erosion and a series of stories on air pollution in Baton Rouge. Dunne was a two-time winner of the Scripps-Howard Foundation’s Edward J. Meeman Award.

“Mike was tenacious when he was onto a story. He was prolific and really knew how to develop sources. Little happened on his beats that Mike didn’t know about and get into the paper. Readers were well-served when Mike was on a story,” said Advocate executive editor Carl Redman.

A founding member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Dunne, who was an Eagle Scout, also was well known in Baton Rouge for his work with Boy Scouts. He also worked with Alcoholics Anonymous.

His survivors include his wife, Freda Yarbrough Dunne, new media director of http://www.2theadvocate.com, and two sons, Dylan and Brad.

Visitation was scheduled at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Baton Rouge on Wednesday from 9 a.m. until a memorial service at 11 a.m. Other arrangements were pending.

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