The News Media Alliance applauds Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) for introducing “The Fallen Journalists Memorial Act of 2019” (S. 1969 / H.R. 3465) this week in the Senate and House, respectively. The legislation provides Congressional authorization for a memorial that will be located on federal land in Washington, D.C. If enacted, the memorial will be established through private funds.
Last year’s tragedy at The Capital Gazette forever changed the face of local journalism. The loss of Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith was senseless and traumatic not only for their friends, families and colleagues, but for the entire news industry.
It is in the spirit of the dedicated staffers of The Capital Gazette and the three dozen other journalists and media workers whose lives were lost in the year since the tragedy on June 28 in Annapolis, Maryland, that we share our wholehearted support for the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act. No one should have to go to work in fear of their safety. Journalism cannot flourish in a place where reporters’ lives are at risk for delivering the news, and a democracy cannot flourish without journalism. The memorial would be a small but important reminder for the public of the risks journalists take every day to deliver vital information to their local communities in pursuit of a thriving and informed democracy. The Alliance encourages Congress to enact this legislation as soon as possible.
David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.