Hillsborough journalist Dan Kay receives posthumous Honorary Doctorate

Dan earned respect from Hillsborough families for his work covering the legal proceedings.

The award winning journalist and Hillsborough campaigner, Dan Kay, has been awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate for his work.

Dan, who died suddenly at the age of 45 in May 2023, was recognised for his pioneering contribution to local journalism and his commitment to social justice by Liverpool Hope University.

Dan's cousin, Amos Waldman, collected the Doctor of Letters on his behalf at the ceremony at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on Tuesday 18 July.

Dan graduated from Liverpool Hope in English and IT before joining the Echo in 2003, where he excelled as a journalist over the course of two decades.

He was named North West Digital Journalist of the Year in 2012, an award which was testament to an innovative approach that helped lead the Echo into the digital age.

Dan’s most notable work was his coverage of the Hillsborough legal proceedings, leading the Echo’s reporting of the 2012 inquests and the subsequent criminal prosecutions.

Dan Kay was best known his work covering the Hillsborough disaster. Credit: PA Images

In doing so, he displayed commitment to social justice that was evident throughout his life and his tireless work saw him become a valued friend of the families and survivors of the disaster and the many people who campaigned for justice.

Dan went on to work with the late Anne Williams' daughter, Sara, to co-write With Hope In Her Heart, a book which powerfully documented Anne’s unwavering and inspiring efforts to uncover the truth of what happened to her son Kevin and the other Liverpool supporters unlawfully killed at Hillsborough.

Dan later worked on the ITV drama inspired by the book, Anne, for which Maxine Peak received a BAFTA nomination for best actress.

Following his passing, his work was formally recognised in parliament by Wirral South MP, Alison McGovern, who praised his ‘extraordinary and pioneering contribution to journalism’.

Liverpool Football Club, who he both supported and reported on, also released a statement paying tribute to Dan.

Liverpool Hope University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Claire Ozanne, said: “Dan was a highly regarded alumnus of this University and someone who exhibited all the qualities we wish to instil in our graduates.

“He was an exceptional journalist with a deep social conscience and used his role at the Liverpool Echo to be a force for good.

“The tributes paid from across Liverpool following his death were evidence of the high esteem in which he was held here, in a city where he contributed so much.

“The University is proud of that contribution and it is fitting that we can honour him in this way, which hope brings some comfort to everyone who knew him.”

97 people lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster.

Steven Waldman, Dan’s uncle, and Amos Waldman, Dan’s cousin, said: “Our family were delighted and extremely touched to hear that Dan would receive this award. It is an honour, and one which he richly deserves, for all of the remarkable work which he undertook in his championing of social justice.

“Dan provided a great deal of support to the Hillsborough families in their pursuit for justice over many years. Through his meticulous reporting, and writing for Liverpool Football Club, and the book and drama of Anne Williams, he leaves behind an incredible legacy, which will ensure that both he and the events he wrote about will never be forgotten.

“Dan was an extremely caring, generous and modest man, who made a colossal impact on many lives. He was loved and revered by his family and friends, and the City of Liverpool.

“Dan thoroughly enjoyed his time and studies at university and we are extremely grateful to Liverpool Hope University for marking his passing in such a thoughtful and poignant way.”