Honor journalism’s dead by respecting their profession

Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara and Wendi Winters were journalists who survived layoffs, newspaper ownership changes, declining readership and even a denigrating president who called the work of people such as them "fake news." But none of them, nor Rebecca Smith, a 34-year-old sales associate who had joined the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis last fall, could survive the barrel of a gun. Jarrod Ramos, a disgruntled reader who failed to exact his revenge in a court of law, allegedly shot them down Thursday as they worked, probably oblivious to his name or his beef. Fischman was the 61-year-old editorial writer who forsook hyperbole to subdue the most formidable politicians. His cogent prose and unwavering accuracy left little to dispute. Hiaasen was the 59-year-old father of three with a writing style never absent of humor or grace. McNamara was a 56-year-old rabid sports reporter who took on additional assignments just to stay employed in a profession he loved. Winters was a 65-year-old mother of four who relished the opportunity to cover community news and who baked cakes every Christmas for her colleagues. Four journalists dedicated to their mission regardless of obstacle or complaint. They were getting close to retirement, when their long hours would come to a rewarding close and mornings would be filled with a leisurely reading of a newspaper over a cup of coffee. Instead, they were added to a list of defenseless people caught in a national killing spree that seems to spare no institution. […]

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