Television news legend Don Fitzpatrick died Monday April 17 at his home in Alexandria, LA, according to Noreen Welle, the vice president of communications, marketing, and membership for the Radio-Television News Directors Association in Washington, DC. The founder and author of SHOPTALK, an electronic newsletter that became a “must read” for those working in television newsrooms across the country, Fitzpatrick was a longtime RTNDA member.
“Don Fitzpatrick was a friend to so many of us in the industry and will be sorely missed,” said Barbara Cochran, RTNDA president. “His knowledge of the industry was encyclopedic, and he shared his insights generously. All of us at RTNDA will miss him very much.”
Fitzpatrick’s funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday, April 21, 2006, at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Alexandria, LA. Burial will be at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville, LA. A wake service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Friends are asked to call from 4 until 8 p.m. Thursday and on Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Fitzpatrick started ShopTalk in 1983 as an eMailed newsletter, and later started TVSpy Watercooler, an online community for television news industry professionals.
From 1982 to 2000, he owned and operated Don Fitzpatrick Associates in San Francisco, at the time the largest on-air talent and news management recruiting firm in the country. Fitzpatrick was born in 1949 in Pittsburgh, PA. He had a masters degree in guidance and counseling and a bachelors degree in journalism and political science from Gonzaga University before entering the television business.
RTNDA honored Fitzpatrick with the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award in 2005 in recognition of the key role he played in the industry.