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TV stations make large donations to fund for slain reporter

Cox Media, Gray Television and Fox each donated $5,000 to a funeral fund for Dylan Lyons.

Cox Media, Gray Television and Fox each donated $5,000 to a funeral fund for Dylan Lyons.

The parent companies of several television stations have made sizable financial contributions to an online fundraiser connected to a slain Florida journalist.

Fox Television Stations, Cox Media Group and Gray Television each donated $5,000 to the funeral fund for Dylan Lyons, a Spectrum News reporter who was fatally shot while covering a crime story in Orlando late last month.

Lyons, 24, worked for Charter’s Spectrum News for less than a year, joining the regional cable news outlet in mid-2022 after various stints at other Florida television stations.

Lyons was shot and killed while reporting on a similar shooting in Orlando’s Pine Hills on February 22. The Desk was the first to confirm his identity, based on information provided by colleagues and members of his family. Jesse Walden, a Spectrum News photojournalist assigned to Lyons, was injured in the shooting.

Hours after the incident, Lyons’ sister launched a GoFundMe to raise money for the reporter’s funeral. As of Thursday, the total amount donated was over $77,000.

Fox and Cox Media each own local TV stations in the Orlando market that compete with Spectrum News. The donations were a sign of solidarity with colleagues at Spectrum News who were impacted by the shooting, as well as Lyons’ family, friends and fiancé.

Other media companies have also chipped in to fund Lyons’ funeral service, Cowles Montana Media Company, which owns KHQ-TV (Channel 6, NBC) in eastern Washington state, donated $2,500. The newsroom at Spectrum News 1 in Austin, Texas donated $650 to the fund, and the Society of Professional Journalists offered up $500.

The news team at WDBJ-TV (Channel 7, CBS) in Roanoke, Virginia donated $500. That newsroom has a shared experience with Spectrum News: In 2015, WDBJ reporter Allison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were fatally shot during a live broadcast by a disgruntled former station employee.

Several media and sports professionals have also made significant donations to the fund, including:

  • Allison Hellman, SVP of content and strategy at Spectrum News ($1,000)
  • Mo Bomba, professional basketball player, Los Angeles Lakers ($1,000)
  • Katie Lombardi, group VP of product and performance at Spectrum Networks ($500)
  • Cheryl Manley, SVP of employment law, Charter Communications ($500)
  • Greg Willinger, founder and president, Willinger Talent Agency ($500)

Lyons’ father, Gary Lyons, will receive the donations from the GoFundMe for the reporter’s funeral service. Services are expected to be announced at a later date.

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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).