Dedication drives journalists to serve

Published 12:29 pm Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Winchester Sun

As journalists, we are trained to look at situations — often heart-wrenching ones — objectively and with some level of detachment. It is something we all strive for, regardless of the tragedy or heartbreak we witness from the front lines.

That becomes difficult at times, even more so when the tragedy hits close to home, as did the senseless attack at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, that took the lives of five employees.

Email newsletter signup

Wendi Winters worked as the paper’s special projects editor. Rob Hiaasen was the assistant managing editor. Gerald Fischman served as the editorial page editor. John McNamara was a reporter. Rebecca Smith was a sales assistant.

All were committed to their profession and simply came to work each and every day with the goal of serving readers.

Every person who chooses a career in journalism does so for their own reasons; many do so because the desire to tell stories that make a difference, seek the truth and serve the community.

Even employees who didn’t set out to be a journalist or work at a newspaper stay because of their dedication to the mission — often pushing through long hours, low pay and stressful situations.

As we have seen a marked increase in attacks at schools, workplaces and public events, it is impossible not to wonder if it will stop here.

Jarrod Ramos was someone who had a long-running grudge against the newspaper there, mostly driven by his own psychosis and the fact that he simply didn’t like the picture the truth painted.

But that doesn’t mean the constant narrative by President Donald Trump and far-right conservatives didn’t inflame the situation or in some way empower this man. Authorities have made it clear that Ramos prepared as if he was “going to war,” which seems to certainly build off the president’s message that the press is the “enemy of the people.”

That mindset will only continue to shatter our already divided nation.

We aren’t your enemy.

We are your neighbors. We are your customers. We are your advocates.

Journalists stand up for truth, fairness, accountability and help move their communities forward — despite all the challenges along the way.

Shortly after the shooting, Gazette reporter Chase Cook personified the spirt to which journalists aspire when he Tweeted, “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

The Washington Post’s Molly Roberts built on this message of perseverance and dedication in an editorial published late last week.

“The question, of course, is what to do now. There’s no road map to shoring up trust in the journalistic enterprise; there’s no manifesto that will change the minds of a citizenry that seems to exist in a series of separate realities. There are only people to talk to and stories to write and pages to set and presses to print them. All you can do, really, is what the Capital Gazette does every day, and what it did (Friday), despite everything: You put out a paper.”