Journalists cover controversy and tragedy on a regular basis, but the news on Thursday of five people slain in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, was particularly poignant.
Those four journalists and an advertising assistant have been forever removed from their important work of informing the public and recording history.
Wendi Winters won’t write about public art or therapeutic riding. John McNamara can’t report the score of another basketball game. Gerald Fischman will never write another thought-provoking, pointed editorial. Assistant editor Rob Hiaasen is unable to rewrite a lede to give it more punch. Rebecca Smith can’t help sell the ads that support the paper.
Their voices were silenced, and that is an enormous loss to the citizens of Annapolis and to the industry of journalism.
Community journalism is the bedrock of our democracy and should not be taken for granted. Journalists are not the enemy of the people, as President Trump has said. Journalists are advocates for the people. We are your friends and neighbors. We hold government, those in power and influence, and those who are unjust or unreasonable, publicly accountable for their actions.
Every day, reporters are the eyes and ears of the people. We sit through hours of government meetings, watch high school football games, attend court hearings, review plays, investigate tips and ask enough questions to break down complex issues for readers.
In this digital age of information overload, journalism provides a baseline for truth. When partisan politics threaten to divide us, ethical journalism can bring us together. It is reported, fact-checked, questioned, edited and screened for bias.
The News&Guide’s core values are truth, trust, excellence, reliability, community.
We view our role as being catalysts for an engaged and inspired community.
If you support community journalism and democracy, take action. Read the newspaper. Speak up when others try to tear it down. Don’t give in to fear and despair.
Journalism will not be silenced.