Saturday, June 30, 2018

Now the Journalists

This time, the shooting was in a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Editors, journalists, and a sales associate had not gone out to get the news.  The news came to them.  And, five dead  later, the survivors joined with a sister newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, to report on the news that had just happened right before them.

This shooting was a little different, though, because a close in law was visiting us, and she worked for a suburban New York City newspaper for many years.  She, through her words, had taken me into a newsroom on the morning of September 11, 2001, as she and fellow staff members gathered around a television set, watching the aftermath of a plane that rammed into One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, wondering if it could have been an accident.  Minutes later, as they watched (live on television) a plane hit Two World Trade Center, they had their answer.

They all scattered, journalists, editors, other support staff.  They did their jobs, as if they had been trained for this moment, and returned that night to commuter parking lots full of cars that would never be driven by their owners again.

My in law told me of the threats her paper had received after a particular story had run, not too many years before she was laid off.  She edited her social media so that people would not know she worked for that paper.  Now, her worst fear had come true - a man with a vendetta against his local paper had taken action.

I don't know what it is like to be a journalist, but I do know what it is like to be a bystander (several blocks away, and I was not a direct witness) as respects an active shooter situation - in fact, it was the topic of my very first blog post in April of 2009.  Other people did their job that day - police, medical personnel, and - yes - journalists.

Now, we need newspapers more than ever, but journalism (in this I include support staff) has become a more deadly field than ever before.

The shooting joins all the other ones - in churches, in schools, at concerts, at nightclubs, in movie theatres, at a military base, so many that we can't even remember them all any more.

The names blur.   We hold demonstrations and nothing happens.  We send our thoughts and prayers and that keeps us going until the next time.

Our President said on Thursday: "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs."  The Governor of Maryland said  "There is no amount of clarity that will ever explain or nullify the pain that comes with losing so many lives for so little reason,"  in a statement Friday morning.  He went on to say that "journalism is a noble profession upon which our democracy depends, and we will fight to defend it."

But the dead are still as dead, and their families, their friends, their other loved ones, cry out to us, the American public, to do whatever it takes to make it stop.

Will we answer the call this time?

7 comments:

  1. Another tragic day in what is fast becoming an endless stream of tragic days. As a former journalist, this story hits hard.

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  2. Maybe this'll wake people up, and more of the media will report on what's actually happening... What am I talking about? It hasn't happened yet. I doubt this will the the catalyst towards rolling back the creeping fascism that's taken over our country.

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  3. Being married to a retired journalist - although he never retired from editing me! - gives me a particular perspective on this tragic story. Hubby says although he never got actual death threats, he did get just about every other type of threat over a lifetime spent in the newspaper business. Journalists do an important and necessary job in getting the truth out to us even when it isn't popular and those who were killed in Annapolis were apparently dedicated to that effort.

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  4. You're so right that millions march for women's rights, gun control, and child separation and they look the other way as if it never happened. The insanity needs to stop.

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  5. Way to many shooting and Killings.
    Coffee is on

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  6. Today we're all fair game for those who don't agree with us. The problem is we're way past writing a "letter to the editor" or the neighbor who decides not to speak to us. Now we have lawsuits, stalkers, terrorists, celebrities and wackos who have every tool of death and destruction at their disposal. I've never seen our country torn apart on most every issue. We've gone beyond slavery and the Civil War and disagreeing about Vietnam. I don't see a way to make things right again. I believe in God, and I think He's pissed! Epic floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, family turning against family... He calls it End of Days. The Bible refers to is as Revelation. Since time isn't as immediate for God as it is for us, the end may not come in our lifetime, but all the signs of the end are all there.

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