Remembering Mal Boright, longtime Vermont journalist, dies at 81


In his half-century career in journalism, Mal Boright juggled news, sports and commentary for a variety of Vermont print, radio and television outlets.

"He was a man for all seasons," former colleague Mike Donoghue recalled of the friend who died Friday, March 18, at age 81."Not just sports seasons, but political and mud seasons, too."

Malcolm Stevenson Boright, born Dec. 15, 1934, in the Northeast Kingdom town of Newport, graduated from his local high school in 1952 before serving as a medic in the U.S. Air Force and studying at the University of Maryland, the U.S. Armed Forces Institute and New Hampshire's former Nathaniel Hawthorne College.

A basketball fan, Boright coached at his hometown's former Sacred Heart High School and Colchester High School, earned certification as an official, and played for the Border Bandits adult league and in three National Senior Games.

But Boright was best known for his byline. A former president of the Vermont Press Association, he worked for the Burlington Free Press, Newport Daily Express, Rutland Herald and Valley News; as news and sports director at ABC television affiliate Channel 22; and as a contributor to WDEV radio in Waterbury and a collaborator with the late broadcaster Jack Barry at WVMT radio in Colchester.

Donoghue was a high school student in the late 1960s when, learning how to cover sports at the Burlington Free Press, he met Boright.

"I knew Mal for 47 years, during which time he's had a couple different jobs," Donoghue said by way of understatement. "He was schooled on a lot of topics, whether Vermont or national or whatever."

Upon retirement, Boright could have simply sat back and rooted for his favorite Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. Instead, he covered sports and contributed news commentary for the weekly Williston Observer and attended seemingly every game at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg.

"He provided all of our sports coverage from 2004 until recently and occasionally wrote a column where he weighed in on politics and culture and anything else that was on his mind," Williston Observer Editor Stephanie Choate said. "It surprised me when I found out he was 81 — he had so much energy and enthusiasm. He truly loved what he did."

Boright was named the National Sports Media Association's Vermont Sportswriter of the Year in 1967 and won induction into the Vermont Principals' Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Orleans-Northern Essex County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

In recent years, he co-hosted a periodic hour-long sports special on WDEV with Jasper Goodman, a local teenager, called "The Kid and the Geezer."

(Boright also did a three-minute ad-lib sportscast every weekday morning on WDEV where, because of his decent predicting skills, he was affectionately called "The Swami.")

Boright will be remembered at a "celebration of life" April 2 at 2 p.m. at Williston's Old Brick Church, as well as through donations made in his name to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

(VTDigger senior reporter Mark Johnson contributed to this report.)


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