BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
This summer, tragedy struck the Capital Gazette of Annapolis. A lone gunman opened fire in the paper’s office and coldly killed five staff members. The attack was brutal, heartless, and cruel. Though the ruthlessness of this assault is the epitome of the worst of America, the response embodies its best. The Gazette valiantly published a paper not only the following day, but everyday thereafter. The continuation of business was complicated by the loss of key staff members and capital equipment, but the Baltimore Sun stepped up and provided their presses and equipment to the Gazette. As time went on, the Gazette put out a request for additional writers to help continuing publishing. The response was overwhelming; the paper was inundated with offers from writers across the country. The outpouring of aid was so great the paper was forced to turn people away as there were simply too many offers. The Gazette‘s uninterrupted publishing was fitting for an industry that will stop at nothing to keep the public informed, and the perseverance and dedication of writers, editors, and publishers all across the country serves as a ringing endorsement of the unwavering spirit of America’s free press in the face of any attack.
Such devastation is disheartening, but we can all take something away from the response to these ruthless murders. Journalists nationwide saw the attack as not just against the Gazette but against the press corps of America. As a result, they joined together to show both their assailant and the public that the news could not be stopped. In doing so, not only did they continue their colleagues’ legacy perfectly, they sent a clear message that no matter what the attack on the free and independent press, the dissemination of news will not be stopped. This bodes incredibly well for a news industry facing mounting challenges to its objectivity, access, and its very existence. News is now attacked not just as biased but as outright false. These attacks threaten the integrity of news as people in high authority use their vast reach to assail news organizations, eroding public trust in journalism at large. While there are indeed examples of suspect journalism, the vast majority of journalists have a genuine love for the truth and uphold the good name of their profession.
This is perhaps the biggest takeaway from the response to the Capital Gazette attack: that American journalists aim to inform the public and will stop in the face of no attack, whether it be physical as in Annapolis, or a war of words, as our president is now waging on unfriendly press. The Page is a staunch supporter of the good journalists of America and we detest any attack on the press. The attack at the Gazette was tragic, and we must never forget the pain of this attack. We must move on, however, and take this tragedy and create from it a triumph for America’s press.