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Capital Gazette Fulfills Promise, Publishes Day After Shooting

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After witnessing the brutal mass shooting that left five colleagues dead and others injured, newsroom staff at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday pledged to put out a Friday edition of the local newspaper.

As part of a chain of tweets in which he provided updates and reaction to the massacre, reporter Chase Cook included a defiant promise to readers and those watching the tragedy unfold online.

“I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” he wrote.

The sentiment was echoed in a post on the paper’s official Twitter account.

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In a response to that tweet, the Capital Gazette posted an image of the front page. The images of the staff’s five deceased colleagues were featured prominently above the fold along with the bold headline “5 Shot Dead at The Capital.”

The completed newspaper was published as scheduled and was delivered Friday with one notable difference. The editorial staff of the Capital Gazette chose to leave the paper’s editorial page almost completely blank with a short message printed in the center.

“Today we are speechless,” the editors wrote. “This page is intentionally left blank today to commemorate victims of Thursday’s shootings at our office.”

The note listed the five employees killed: assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, correspondent Wendi Winters, editor Gerald Fischman, staff writer John McNamara, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.

As Fox News reported, newspaper staff struggled not only with processing the deadly act they had just encountered but with the practical issues associated with putting out a paper in such a chaotic state.

Was publishing a paper the right reaction to Thursday's violence?

Reporter Pat Ferguson said surviving staff members were “just trying to do their job for the public,” but he and others acknowledged the reigning sense of confusion and anger that resulted from Thursday’s senseless act.

“You’d think something like this might happen in Afghanistan, not in a newsroom a block away from the mall,” he said.

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Pat Furgurson, another reporter who was away from the office when the shooting began, said the remaining staff was simply “trying to do our job” while at the same time figuring out how to “deal with five people” suddenly gone.

As the Baltimore Sun reported, Furgurson’s pickup truck served as a makeshift office as he and his colleagues worked on the Friday edition.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Birthplace
Virginia
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Education
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Location
Arizona
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment




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