ROB Hiaasen ... Gerald Fischman ... Wendi Winters ... John McNamara ... Rebecca Smith.
I didn’t know any of them. Yet, I knew all of them.
They are the five people killed in the offices of the Annapolis (Md.) Capital Gazette newspaper Thursday afternoon.
They are no relation, yet they are my brothers and sisters. They had ink in their veins, fire in their hearts.
They are our newspaper family. And just like any family, it sometimes is “us against the world.”
As alleged shooter Jarrod Warren Ramos opened fire on the staff, it didn’t stop reporters from spreading the news. They tweeted out details from hiding places in the building as the murders occurred.
And they tweeted after the shootings. I was most impressed by the words of one reporter, Chase Cook, “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”
And they did.
Despite the pain and anguish — and I’m sure typing through some tears — they put out the paper.
Why? Because that’s what we do.
No matter how bad things get, we publish papers. Tornadoes, power outages, snow storms or yes — even shootings — we put out the paper.
Another journalist, Adam Lynn, tweeted: “We’re paid for s--t. We work like dogs. People, including the president, disparage us at every opportunity. Now they’re shooting us down in our newsrooms. I’ll still be back tomorrow. Because the people at the #CapitalGazette matter. My colleagues matter. Journalism matters.”
His words are so true. Newspaper people are a tough breed of humans. Many of us have been threatened because of something we wrote. When I’m threatened, my stock answer is: “Get in line.”
I almost choked when I read the words of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who said: “... A violent attack on innocent journalists doing their job is an attack on every American.”
Aren’t constant verbal attacks on innocent journalists doing their job attacks on every American as well? Yet the president constantly refers to almost all media not labeled “Fox News” as fake news.
That kind of rhetoric only helps incite the kind of incident that occurred in Annapolis.
And there actually have been other scum who called for “gunning down” journalists.
Yet, we labor on. Because that’s what we do.
When I speak on journalism at colleges and high schools I say: “It’s low pay and long hours. It’s the greatest job in the world.”
And for me, it still is after 48 years in this business.
You can cuss us out, you can threaten us and, yes, you can even shoot us. But I’ll tell you this:
We’re putting out a damn paper.
Because that’s what we do.
LYNN SATERNOW is sports editor of Allied News and The Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org