One year ago, on June 28, 2018, the lives of five newsroom employees from The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, were senselessly taken by gun violence. Today, we honor those victims — and the three dozen other journalists lost around the world in the last year — by celebrating Maryland Freedom of the Press Day.
While horrific tragedies like that in the Capital Gazette newsroom are not common, threats and attacks on journalists are growing increasingly common, and terrible political rhetoric has only made the world a more dangerous place for the men and women who seek to report the news.
No journalist should have to go to work in fear of their safety, whether they’re covering a war zone or the local city council. Each loss of life in the journalism community affects us all, from the friends and families of the victims, to the colleagues that must carry on in their absence, to the general public who miss out on the valuable work conducted by journalists and other newsroom employees to hold those in power accountable.
We applaud the legislators in Maryland for recognizing the value of the lives lost at the hands of a gunman at The Capital Gazette. Today, we ask you to remember Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith, the Capital Gazette staffers we lost, as well as all of the other journalists who sacrificed their lives while working to deliver the news.
David Chavern serves as President & CEO of the News Media Alliance. Chavern has built a career spanning 30 years in executive strategic and operational roles, and most recently completed a decade-long tenure at the United States Chamber of Commerce.