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Op-ed

Media outlets rally behind Capital Gazette after deadly shooting: A sampling of tributes

In the wake of the targeted attack in which a gunman shot and killed five Capital Gazette employees, media outlets from around the world have responded with an outpouring of support not only for the dead but also for the industry that binds them.

Staff editorials, first-person narratives and podcasts have honored the common journalistic mission that outlets big and small shared with the victims: Rob Hiaasen, 59, an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who had covered high school, college and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant.

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In addition to the tributes on their websites, pages and airwaves, at 2:33 p.m. Thursday, exactly one week after the shooter entered the building and began his rampage, newsrooms across the country joined the Capital Gazette, The Baltimore Sun and other tronc publications to observe a moment of silence.

A sampling of the tributes paid

Columnist Dave Barry in the Miami Herald wrote that his heart ached for the deceased “newspaper people” in Annapolis as well as for “the larger family of journalists.”

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He wrote that newspaper staffers do not seek fame or fortune, but rather commit to their jobs simply because “they love what they do.”

“Here's the corny-but-true part: They do it for you,” Barry wrote. “Every time they write a story, they're hoping you'll read it, maybe learn something new, maybe smile, maybe get mad and want to do something.”

Here's the corny-but-true part: They do it for you.

—  Dave Barry in the Miami Herald

The New York Times compiled readers’ reflections regarding their community newspapers, many of which continue to have “deep ties” in their communities despite declining financial stability.

According to The Times, more than 100 people wrote in.

“It has gotten thinner. But in my opinion, it’s still one of the nicest-looking, best laid-out papers around,” wrote Ted Nesi, a subscriber of The Sun Chronicle.

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Tulsa World Editorial Cartoonist Bruce Plante depicted a Capital Gazette reporter’s notebook and pen lying next to a creeping pool of red blood alongside a quote from former New York Times owner Adolph S. Ochs “...to give the news without fear or favor.”

Baltimore’s NPR affiliate station WYPR compiled several perspectives for their Midday program, including Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

WYPR: Midday 6/29/2018

Gatehouse Media aggregated several editorials from their affiliates, including The Columbus Dispatch and The Augusta Chronicle. The columns expressed grief, anger and reflection:

We didn’t personally know the victims of this horrific shooting, but we’re certain they did their jobs because it mattered to their readers.

—  The Beaver County Times

Those who threaten the press will never win. We won't allow it.

—  Columbia Daily Tribune

Never was that dedication better displayed than in the Capital Gazette staff’s production of their Friday issue.

—  Spartanburg Herald-Journal

The Baltimore Sun’s Dan Rodricks lamented the loss of his colleague, Rob Hiaasen, in a tribute that also touched on the industry’s perseverance.

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“I would say there are no words to describe my feelings upon seeing those names on the list of victims, but you don’t get to do that in this business,” Rodricks wrote. “You have to keep going. You have to keep hitting the keyboard.”


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