Capital Gazette publishes paper day after shooting

After a shooting at the Capital Gazette left five people dead, journalists at the Maryland newspaper resolved to put out their Friday edition, including reporting on the shooting and profiles of the victims. 

Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Copies of the Capital Gazette's Friday edition sit in a news box in Annapolis, Md., on June 29, 2018, a day after an attack on the newspaper left five people dead.

The grieving and the reporting sort of jumbled together for staffers at the Capital Gazette after a fatal shooting at the newspaper, but they were determined to put out the next day's edition.

Journalists with the Annapolis, Md.-based daily huddled under a covered parking deck of the Annapolis Mall, not far from where scores of other media outlets were clumped together Thursday awaiting further details of the shooting that left five people dead, including colleagues, and others injured.

Editor Rick Hutzell called a few of his journalists over to talk, a discussion punctuated with hugs and staggered expressions.

"We're trying to do our job and deal with five people" who lost their lives, said reporter Pat Furgurson, whose wife and adult son was with him at the mall.

Mr. Furgurson said his colleagues were "just people trying to do their job for the public."

"You think something like this might happen in Afghanistan, not in a newsroom a block away from the mall," he said, reflecting on what appeared to be one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history. Police later said the gunman explicitly targeted the newspaper.

The Capital is an institution in Maryland's capital and was one of the last dailies to switch from publishing in the afternoon to mornings. Its sister publication, the Maryland Gazette, was founded in 1727 and is one of the oldest papers in America. In 1767, it became the first paper in America to be published by a woman, Anne Catherine Green, who led opposition to the stamp tax in the years leading up to the American Revolution.

For many years the Capital was published by diplomat Philip Merrill, who died in 2006. It was sold in 2014 to the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Following in that history, the paper's staffers were resolute Thursday that they would publish despite the tragedy. Capital reporter Chase Cook wrote on Twitter: "I can tell you this: We are putting out a ... paper tomorrow."

Reporters brushed aside any logistical difficulties putting out a newspaper when the newsroom is an off-limits crime scene.

High school sports editor Bob Hough told The Associated Press he and a colleague were working on the sports section from his home Thursday evening.

"I don't know that there was ever any thought to not putting something together," said Mr. Hough, who wasn't at the office when the shooting broke out. Hough said they were doing a full five-page section in collaboration with the design team based at the Baltimore Sun that always lays out the pages.

He noted that some of his colleagues were out reporting on the shooting story as it continued to unfold late Thursday and said he expected the next day's paper would include that coverage and whatever else would be in a typical Friday paper. By 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the Capital's website had in-depth stories on the shootings, a years-long feud the suspect had with the paper, and a photo and profile of each of the journalists' slain co-workers.

Photographer Josh McKerrow edited photos on a laptop in the garage deck.

"It's what our instinct was – to go back to work," Mr. McKerrow said. "It's what our colleagues would have done."

This story was reported by The Associated Press. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.