Detroit sportswriter raises money for freelance journalists while coronavirus puts sports on hold

AP writer Larry Lage raises money to send to others

DETROIT – Many people are unsure when their next paycheck will come right now because of the coronavirus outbreak, but a Detroit sportswriter is trying to soften the blow for his freelance colleagues by surprising them with money.

“When it became clear Thursday that sports were canceled, I prayed for my friends who are freelance journalists,” Associated Press sportswriter Larry Lage said.

The next morning, Lage set up a fundraising page on Facebook.

“Really quickly, I raised a couple thousand dollars,” Lage said.

He contacted people he knew to give it out, such as Dannie Rogers, a freelancer out of Toledo.

“Larry was asking for my Venmo,” Rogers said. “I said ‘no Larry, absolutely not.’ If things become dire, my parents will help me out.”

She gave Lage the name of someone she knew: Jon Root.

Root is a host for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Lage Venmo’d him $50 out of the blue.

Root was so moved, he tweeted about the gesture, and now Lage has a viral movement on his hands. He’s raised nearly $9,000 so far and continues to get more and more names of people who could use some help.

“There are a slew of people who are freelance sports journalists who are paid by the assignment, do not have a saraly or benefits” Lage said. “They’re paid by different TV outlets to work.”

At first, Lage was reluctant to talk to Local 4 about the movement, saying this isn’t about him. But then he thought the more people who know about this, the better.

“As the money keeps coming in, I’m sending it around electronically from coast to coast,” Lage said.

“Hopefully this brightens people’s days to see what Larry is doing,” Rogers said.

So far, he’s helped a lot of people who aren’t working right now.

Lage is distributing money by Venmo in increments of $100 to $1,000. At one point he was flagged because Venmo wanted to make sure it was him send out all the money. He’s since been cleared, so his mission continues.

Click here if you would like to donate.

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