People gather for a vigil in response to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, Friday, June 29, 2018, in front of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md. Prosecutors say Jarrod W. Ramos opened fire Thursday in the newsroom. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

EDITORIAL: Maryland journalists killed in pursuit of truth

Five people were gunned down in the Capital Gazette newsroom

“The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.” – Tom Marquardt

Those are the words from former executive editor and publisher of The Capital Gazette after a gunman opened fire in their Maryland newsroom June 28, killing four in the editorial department and one from the sales department.

A reporter at The Capital did a court story about Jarrod Ramos, the suspected gunman. The story was about his conviction for criminal harassment charges against a female high school classmate. Ramos filed a defamation case against the newspaper and attacked the paper’s employees online. The reporter didn’t want to pursue charges against Ramos and risk making the situation worse. The investigating officer determined there was no threat.

They were wrong.

But you can’t fault the reporter or officers. Ramos’ threats were veiled. They seemed more like online bashing rants.

This incident, however, highlights the fact that reporters die for simply doing their jobs. Last year about 81 reporters worldwide died in targeted killings and crossfire incidents, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

It’s likely that many reporters encounter death threats throughout their career. It’s our job to print the truth and sometimes that isn’t popular. Forbes and Huffington Post writer once said, “If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing anything important.”

It’s not uncommon for reporters to get hate mail and, as journalists, we develop plank thick skin. The verbal and online bashing rolls off like grease from a Teflon pan.

Death threats, however, are another thing. We never get used to them. Neither should the public.

An attack on journalists is an attack on the truth and, in the end, democracy.

– Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

DFO allowing at-sea observers again if safe work procedures in place

May 15 fishery notice lays out conditions for allowing at-sea observers onboard amid COVID-19

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read