To serve and inform

Published 9:13 am Sunday, July 1, 2018

Rob Hiaasen. Gerald Fischman. Wendi Winters. John McNamara. Rebecca Smith.

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the names. They were all employees of the The Capital Gazette, a newspaper in Maryland. They usually wrote the news, but on Thursday, they became the news after they were shot dead at work by a man with a seven-year long grudge against the newspaper and a long rifle.

We don’t know why he shot five people.

Email newsletter signup

But in 2011, a Capital reporter wrote about how the shooter and how he stalked a woman.

He sued the newspaper for defamation and lost, because the court found that everything the reporter wrote came from public records and was accurate. The shooter sued again and lost that case too. The reporter who wrote the article had moved on to another newspaper and wasn’t among the victims.

This was an act of blind rage. It was personal to only him. No one he killed had done anything to him. They were just doing their jobs when a man randomly began targeting people.

This has shaken newspaper staffs across the country. We do our jobs because we love our communities and want people to be informed. Simple as that.

Our hearts go out to our fellow reporters who were killed. And all respect to the staff of the Capital Gazette for putting out the newspaper in the midst of their grief.

Despite any tragedy, the newspaper must be printed. That is our promise to our community.