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Fox News Media employees pass away during Christmas holiday weekend

Chicago bureau director Adam Petlin and Fox News Audio journalist Matt Napolitano passed on Christmas Eve from illnesses.

Chicago bureau director Adam Petlin and Fox News Audio journalist Matt Napolitano passed on Christmas Eve from illnesses.

Fox News Media employees Adam Petlin (left) and Matt Napolitano (right) appear in undated images. (Photos via social media, Graphic by The Desk)
Fox News Media employees Adam Petlin (left) and Matt Napolitano (right) appear in undated images. (Photos via social media, Graphic by The Desk)

Two employees of Fox News Media passed away over the holiday weekend, the network confirmed in a statement.

The deaths were confirmed in two internal notes penned by Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and circulated to employees on Sunday.

Adam Petlin, the director of operations at Fox News’ Chicago bureau, died on Christmas Eve after a lengthy illness. Petlin was among the inaugural batch of new employees at the Fox News Channel when it started in 1996, serving as one of six newly-hired field photographers. He was also one of the first Fox News camera crews to travel to downtown Manhattan during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, Scott said.

“When his former boss [Fox Weather CEO] Sharri Berg and colleague Scott Wilder visited Adam in the hospital last week, he proudly shared photos of his phenomenal career at Fox, which took him cross country and to spots all over the world, including a trip to Antarctica and the South Pole on assignment with astronaut Jim Lovell” Scott wrote.

Petlin is survived by his wife, Lauren, their 18-year-old daughter Avan and 14-year-old son Luca.

Fox News Media also mourned the loss of 33-year-old Matt Napolitano, who worked in the company’s Fox News Audio division and passed after a short illness at the age of 33 Napolitano also died on Christmas Eve..

Napolitano started his career at Fox News Audio’s dedicated SiriusXM channel Fox News Headlines 24/7, where “he quickly demonstrated his writing, producing and on-air skills,” Scott wrote. He served as a spot reporter, and later as an anchor, for Fox News Audio, and also appeared on “Cavuto Coast to Coast” on the Fox Business Network.

Numerous friends pointed out that Napolitano twice appeared on TV game shows, making one appearance each on “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” Earlier this year, he married Ricky Whitcomb, who first shared news of Napolitano’s passing on X (formerly Twitter).

“He loved his job and he loved bringing the news to your radios and televisions,” Whitcomb wrote. “An honest journalist who truly cared about facts. You can thank him for the last-minute Jets win today.”

Napolitano’s funeral will take place on Friday in Farmingdale, with visitation on Thursday.

Fox News Media is offering grief counseling and other assistance to its employees through the OneFox app on Apple and Android devices.

The full memos sent to Fox News Media employees on Sunday are below.


Hi everyone,

We have some very sad news to share with everyone this Christmas Eve.

Our Director of Chicago Bureau Operations Adam Petlin passed away yesterday at 58 after a long illness. Adam was a Fox News original and started here in August of 1996 as one of the first six field photographers hired.

He was a natural leader and was quickly promoted to supervisor, setting the standard for all major interviews and events. Adam led the first Fox camera crew on scene in downtown Manhattan on September 11th and captured the devastation that immediately unfolded that day, delivering the very news that changed the world to millions of viewers.

When his former boss Sharri Berg and colleague Scott Wilder visited Adam in the hospital last week, he proudly shared photos of his phenomenal career at Fox which took him cross country and to spots all over the world, including a trip to Antarctica and the South Pole on assignment with astronaut Jim Lovell.

He was an integral part of the field and production team and a gifted still and television photographer. Adam was also highly regarded by numerous correspondents and anchors that were fortunate enough to have been on location with him on nearly every major news story of the last 27 years.

Adam is survived by his wife Lauren (whom he met in our New York offices) as well as his 18-year-old daughter Ava and his 14-year-old son Luca.

Our Employee Assistance Program is available 24/7 for grief counseling, including throughout the holidays, and can be accessed via the OneFOX app.

We will communicate arrangements and any other details once we receive them. As many of us gather with family and friends today, hug your loved ones with even more gratitude.

In sympathy,
Suzanne


Hello team,

It is with a heavy heart that I send this note. We have some more devastating news to share with the Fox News Media family. Fox News Audio’s Matt Napolitano passed away yesterday after a short illness. He was just 33.

Matt did everything from anchoring to writing and producing for our audio platforms, and loved being able to work in the journalism field that he trained for his entire life.

He began his Fox career in 2015 as a writer for our dedicated SiriusM news channel, Fox News Headlines 24/7. There, he quickly demonstrated his writing, producing and on-air skills. He soon became a sports reporter for the service and further excelled in that position.

After a very brief departure, Matt returned to Fox News Audio as an update anchor/reporter, again writing, producing, and anchoring on all audio platforms.

Matt also appeared on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto Coast to Coast with the latest sports stories and worked with the team at our affiliate news service Fox News Edge voicing packages for various Fox affiliates.

He showed off his talent outside the studio as well, having been a runner-up on Jeopardy! and making it to the bonus round of Wheel of Fortune, but it was his love of journalism that we were lucky enough to benefit from throughout his time at Fox.

Matt is survived by his husband Ricky, whom he married this past May.

Please know the Employee Assistance Program is available 24/7 for grief counseling – including throughout the holidays – and can be accessed directly via the OneFOX app.

We will share the arrangements and any additional information we receive. Hug your loved ones with extra gratitude this holiday season and beyond.

In sympathy,
Suzanne


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the day the memos were circulated to Fox News Media employees. The memos were sent on Sunday, not Tuesday. Additionally, a version of this story incorrectly reported Petlin’s position at Fox News in the subheadline that accompanied the article. He was the director of operations at the Chicago bureau, not its bureau chief.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).