Sad news about Knight Fellow Mike Fowler

Aug 292009

More sad news this week. Former Knight Fellow and ICFJ trainer Michael Fowler died unexpectedly at a hospital in New Hampshire, where he developed complications from minor surgery.

Mike and his wife, Susan Postlewaite -- also a Knight Fellow -- were spending the summer in the States before heading back to Cambodia, where they have worked to help journalists for many years. Mike was a Fellow in Cambodia in 2001, and then he and Susan were both Knight Fellows in India in 2004. They also worked for ICFJ on our Egypt elections training project in 2005.

Mike was both a lawyer and a journalist, and he worked on everything from media law advice to investigative journalism training to developing codes of ethics. Before becoming an international journalism trainer, he spent four decades working as a journalist, prosecutor and defense attorney in the United States.

Mike was such a smart guy -- in many conversations with him about proposals and projects, he could always get to the heart of a problem. His dedication was his greatest asset -- he cared so much about the journalists he worked with, especially in Cambodia, where he worked for so many years.

"He was really important because during the early to mid 1990s Cambodia's journalism was very young and we strongly needed training to pass on the skills and knowledge to local journalists," Moeun Chhean Narridh, director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, told the Cambodia Daily. "[Mike] leaves behind a strong legacy."

Besides Susan, he is survived by their daughter, Kim, who is 8.

Susan tells me that a Mike Fowler Memorial Scholarship in Journalism has been set up at Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh. We don't yet have information on how to contribute, but let us know if you'd like to do so and we'll get you the information when we have it (write to pbutler@icfj.org). Meanwhile, Susan encourages donations in Mike's name to the charity of your choice. In her words:

"Mike was involved in activities in many countries, and it's difficult for me to pick a charity. I think that if people have a charity they like in their country, we would like them to contribute to that in Mike's name. It was particularly exciting and happy for Kim, who is 8, to receive a notice this week that one of our friends, for example, planted a tree in Israel for Mike. A water well in Afghanistan, or an orphanage somewhere; all of these things are important."

All of us at Knight and ICFJ will miss him very much.

-- Patrick Butler
   Vice President-Programs
   ICFJ