I used to be a reporter at a small daily, community newspaper like the Capital Gazette. We had maybe 14 reporters, and we were like family.
I couldn’t imagine living through a shooting with that family, watching some of them die. Today, I cry with the reporters and staff at the Capital Gazette.
We don’t know the motive behind the crime yet. We don’t know if the alleged shooter was a disgruntled worker, a terrorist (foreign or domestic), or the crazed spouse of an employee. The police did say the suspect mutilated his fingertips to avoid identification, as reported in this article from the Baltimore Sun, so that leads me to believe this was planned and malicious (versus a potentially angry worker).
Regardless, I know one thing for sure: journalists just want to tell stories, and today, some died for it.
*** When I was a full-time reporter, this was never a fear of mine. ***
But things have changed, and it breaks my heart. For those who don’t know any reporters personally, let me explain a few things:
- Most reporters are completely non-violent people and just want to find the truth.
- Most reporters are empathetic storytellers who want to give a voice to the voiceless.
- Most reporters believe in nothing more than freedom of speech and the press–more than politics and more than religion.
- Most reporters are “crusaders” who believe in the mission of holding those in power accountable, and protecting the innocent.
I once thanked an active-duty Soldier for his service to our country, and he said to me, “Shari, thank YOU for your service. Not enough people say it, but as a journalist, you’re serving too. Thank you.”