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Fox News headquarters news ticker writer dies

Fox News headquarters news ticker writer dies
© Courtesy Fox News

Mike Santangelo, the author of messages on the long horizontal scrolling news ticker — called the zipper — on the Fox News headquarters building in Manhattan, has died at the age of 80, Adweek's TVNewser reported

Santangelo was known for “puns, pithy comments and wordplay,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Fox News President and Executive Editor Jay Wallace said in a staff memo obtained by The Hill. “[T]he zipper itself will note his passing and the great contributions of the man who defined it.”

Santangelo had been the zipper writer since the late '90s, the memo stated, after a career as a police and fire reporter. He had worked for the New York Daily News, Reuters and UPI and was part of the Pulitzer-winning Newsday team that covered the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800.

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Santangelo, The New York Times wrote in a 2005 profile, wrote the zipper messages from a corner cubicle on the 17th floor at Fox.

He had no editor and was the sole supplier of the 50-word-per-item scripts that fed the ticker. He wrote around 35 stories a day and phoned in updates over the weekend.

Though he initially balked at the job, he told the Times he grew to enjoy the challenge of encapsulating the news in messages that could be read quickly and clearly on the scrolling ticker.

“This is the Fox face,” he said in 2005. “We'll give you the news, we'll give it to you straight, but we'll give it with flair. I try to put a snap on it. Any story can be done in three lines.”

Santangelo is survived by his wife, Mara Bovis, Scott and Wallace wrote in the memo.