When she heard about the shooting Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Washington journalist Madi Alexander felt shock, sadness, fear and an overwhelming need to help.
“I can’t stop shaking because I can’t stop thinking about how this could be any one of us,” Alexander, 26, a data reporter for Bloomberg Government, said Thursday. “There’s nothing to keep this from happening to any newsroom or newspaper across the country.”
Authorities said at least five people were killed and several others gravely injured in the mass shooting at the newspaper’s office on Bestgate Road. Police said they had a shooter in custody.
The Capital Gazette is owned by The Baltimore Sun.
After getting in contact with someone who worked for the Gazette, Alexander decided to organize a fundraiser through GoFundMe. Initially, Alexander, who doesn’t know anyone on staff at the newspaper, started with a $10,000 goal and increased it at the urging of GoFundMe. After meeting several goals, she raised it again. As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the page had raised over $183,900 toward a $200,000 goal.
“Our hearts break for our colleagues in Annapolis and we want to do whatever we possibly can to help them pay for medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs, and any other unforeseen expenses that might arise as a result of this terrible shooting,” the page says.
A GoFundMe representative told Alexander they would likely find a financial officer at the paper to eventually handle the donations.
“There will likely be a great deal of eyes on your campaign over the coming days,” the representative told her in an email offering to share the campaign and link to it on the site’s homepage.
Alexander, who covers government and politics, has worked for Bloomberg Government for two years.
“It just seemed like something needed to be done, and no one had done it yet,” Alexander said of the fundraising effort.