New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913

Central High School

New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913


John Finnegan

News has been John's life starting back at Central when he was editor of the Central High News. While at Central he also worked at the Robbinsdale Post, a weekly newspaper. During his Army service in Europe during World War II he edited a battalion newspaper and also a regimental history. After the war, he received his BA degree from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and got his master's degree in1964. He was a reporter for the Rochester Post Bulletin from 1948 to 1951, moving to the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1951.

He worked 37 years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press where he became executive editor, senior vice president and assistant publisher. In 1957 John co-authored Minnesota's first open-meetings law and in 1973 was very active in forming the Minnesota Joint Media Committee that was dedicated to preserving the "public's right to know" which allows the press to be represented at all government meetings. In 1989 after retiring from the Pioneer Press he became the MJMC president.

For his dedicated effort in this important endeavor including appearing before congressional committees he was inducted in 2001 to the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Arlington, VA. In 1980 he received the Associated Press Managing Editors award and in 1986 the John Peter Zenger First Amendment award. He also received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota

Since retiring from the Pioneer Press he was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication until his second retirement in 2005. Also he has been a key figure in the journalism school's capital fund campaign where more than $18 million has been raised.

Readers of the Pioneer Press could add much more about John and his contributions to St. Paul and the advancement of media for the benefit of all of us. In his editorials he presented his views of freedom of information as well as fairness in reporting all the news.

Contributed by John Leak, CHS 1943