Tribune Publishing Chairman David Dreier announced Sunday the creation of a foundation that plans to build a memorial to fallen journalists in Washington, D.C.
The announcement comes the week of the anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history. Last June 28, a gunman entered the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, killing Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. Tribune owns Baltimore Sun Media, the Capital’s parent company.
Dreier, who wrote a column that was published Sunday in the Capital, The Baltimore Sun and other Tribune news sites and papers, said Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, will be among those who will introduce legislation this week to establish the Fallen Journalists Memorial, which “will pay tribute to the journalists who have sacrificed their lives in the name of a free press.”
The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation, Dreier wrote, “will build support and plan for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and preservation of the memorial. …
“This is a call to action. We must honor the memories of the journalists who have perished so that they can serve as a reminder of the essential value of journalism to our democracy.”
Cardin’s spokeswoman confirmed Sunday that the senator will be introducing legislation, along with Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, this week that would authorize the foundation to build a memorial on federal land.
“We are privileged to have monuments and memorials to honor those who have helped make our nation and our democracy stronger since its founding days. Missing currently from that honor roll are reporters who have sacrificed everything ... in the spirit of the free, open, and transparent societies and governments that Americans — and all people — deserve,” Cardin said in a statement. “This new memorial will honor the brave souls lost in the shooting at the Capital Gazette and others who lost their lives doing their job in defense of our freedoms.”
He added, “This memorial will be a visible symbol of what is at stake.”
The foundation has been founded under the auspices of the nonprofit National Press Club Journalism Institute. Dreier said the Annenberg Foundation and the Ferro Foundation are providing initial funding.
Dreier will serve as chairman of the foundation. The Capital’s editor, Rick Hutzell, will serve on the board’s advisory panel.