People gather for a vigil in response to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, Friday, June 29, 2018, in front of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md. Prosecutors say Jarrod W. Ramos opened fire Thursday in the newsroom. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

People gather for a vigil in response to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, Friday, June 29, 2018, in front of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md. Prosecutors say Jarrod W. Ramos opened fire Thursday in the newsroom. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

EDITORIAL: Maryland journalists killed in pursuit of truth

Five people were gunned down in the Capital Gazette newsroom

“The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.” – Tom Marquardt

Those are the words from former executive editor and publisher of The Capital Gazette after a gunman opened fire in their Maryland newsroom June 28, killing four in the editorial department and one from the sales department.

A reporter at The Capital did a court story about Jarrod Ramos, the suspected gunman. The story was about his conviction for criminal harassment charges against a female high school classmate. Ramos filed a defamation case against the newspaper and attacked the paper’s employees online. The reporter didn’t want to pursue charges against Ramos and risk making the situation worse. The investigating officer determined there was no threat.

They were wrong.

But you can’t fault the reporter or officers. Ramos’ threats were veiled. They seemed more like online bashing rants.

This incident, however, highlights the fact that reporters die for simply doing their jobs. Last year about 81 reporters worldwide died in targeted killings and crossfire incidents, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

It’s likely that many reporters encounter death threats throughout their career. It’s our job to print the truth and sometimes that isn’t popular. Forbes and Huffington Post writer once said, “If you’re not pissing someone off, you probably aren’t doing anything important.”

It’s not uncommon for reporters to get hate mail and, as journalists, we develop plank thick skin. The verbal and online bashing rolls off like grease from a Teflon pan.

Death threats, however, are another thing. We never get used to them. Neither should the public.

An attack on journalists is an attack on the truth and, in the end, democracy.

– Lisa Joy/Black Press News Services


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Most Read