Editorial: Pressing on
We have to admit, it’s been hard walking into our newsroom each morning since last Thursday’s attack on the Capital-Gazette offices in Annapolis, MD. We imagine many journalists across the country have had the same knot in their stomach, perhaps the same way teachers feel walking into their classrooms after a school shooting.
In a climate where our president has routinely painted the press as an “enemy of the people,” reporters even at small weeklies like ours face challenges.
In the case of the Capital-Gazette, a disgruntled reader with a beef against their coverage opened fire, killing Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen and John McNamara, staff writers and editors, and Rebecca Smith, an ad sales assistant for the paper.
In a testament to their profession, the survivors of Thursday’s shooting worked into the night, offering this reassurance: “We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” one of their reporters wrote on Twitter.
They soldiered on because that’s what journalists do.
We’ve printed stories in this newspaper that have warranted thank-you cards and flowers on Thursday morning. Other times, profanity-ridden emails, threats of canceled subscriptions, harassing phone calls inviting our reporters to pack it up and quit--or worse.
But we don’t quit. We’re committed to our mission, which looms over our own newsroom in block letters: “It is not our aim to tell our readers what to think, but to provide them with food for thought and to make interpretive editorial comment on the news.”
It’s not a job we do to get rich or accoladed. We sit through hours of otherwise boring government meetings, and even more hours researching, interviewing, FOILing, asking questions and trying to sniff out corruption. In between, you might run into us, camera in tow, covering local graduations, fundraisers, grand openings and street festivals like Alive After Five® or Artists on the Lane. Or maybe you’ll bump into us in a grocery store aisle or a local beach–hey, we live here, too.
We aren’t your enemy. We sit side by side with you at the local village and school board meetings. Maybe we sit next to you in church. We’re your neighbors and customers and occasionally, friends.
We don’t always agree, but welcome different perspectives on issues through letters and op-eds.
We do this because words, and the truth, will always matter. Our hearts are with everyone at the Capital-Gazette, their friends and loved ones. We salute their editorial staff, who put out a damn good paper the very next day. Their story inspires our continued mission.
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