Newseum honors KXLY reporter who died covering the news

SPOKANE, Wash. - A former KXLY reporter, who died covering the news in 1978, was honored this month for his dedication and sacrifice at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

At the Newseum there's a wall that honors the men and women who have died bringing the news to the world. In all there are 2,156 journalists from every corner of the globe who have died doing their jobs.

Every May the Newseum honors the journalists who died in the line of duty the past year. This year 72 people were remembered, including two who had died in previous years. One of those people honored was a former KXLY reporter.

Cole Bunzel KXLY reporter

Cole Bunzel was a reporter and anchor at KXLY in the late 1970s. On January 12, 1978, he was heading to Pullman to cover then Vice President Walter Mondale's visit. He was one mile south of Spangle when he hit a tractor-trailer head on. Bunzel was killed instantly.

It was one day after his 25th birthday.

"Probably the worst day in my broadcasting career … 21 years. And probably everyone in that newsroom, to have to put together a newscast and do the news ... 34 years later and the emotion is still there," former KXLY sportscaster Bill Schwanbeck said.

Schwanbeck, along with former KXLY weathercaster Richard Montague, Bunzel's mother and his three brothers traveled to Washington, DC over Mother's Day weekend to honor Cole.

"It's not just a Hallmark day anymore. It's a special day, and I'm glad I'm alive to be here," Cole's mother Jane Cole Scott said.

Bunzel's broadcast career was short-lived but he's now forever remembered at a place that honors the giants in journalism. To the world, he's now one of more than 2,000 journalists who died covering the news, losing their lives in service to the public.

To his family, and the men and women he worked beside him, he'll always be remembered as a brother and friend.

"Cole's come to a place on that wall and this museum where his spirit and what he meant to his family and his colleagues can be exhibited in the bright sun. It's a good day," Cole's brother, Rob Bunzel, said.