COLLEGE PARK (7/3/18) — The five people killed in an attack on the Capital Gazette newsroom last week were “core members of the bedrock of this country,” University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy A. Dalglish told WUSA-9 in Washington.
Dalglish, former director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, made those comments and others in a series of local, national and international media interviews after editorial writer Gerald Fischman, sportswriter and editor John McNamara, editor and columnist Robert Hiaasen, reporter Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith, a member of the newspaper’s sales team, were shot to death in the Capital Gazette newsroom.
Fischman (‘79) and McNamara (‘83) were University of Maryland alumni. Hiaasen taught news writing at Merrill College. Another alum, Rachael Pacella (‘13), was injured during the attack.
Dalglish pleaded with viewers and readers around the world not to view journalists as the “enemy of the people.”
“They are your friends, they are your neighbors, their kids go to school with your kids, they go to church with you and they care about their community just as much as you do,” Dalglish told WJZ-13 in Baltimore.
She said most journalists are like those who were killed at the Capital Gazette: well-meaning people trying to serve the public good.
“They work hard to do their job,” Dalglish told NBC4 in Washington. “And our democracy cannot survive without them.”
The newsroom shooting proves that the “poisonous” national discourse about journalists must end.
“We will never know whether, if our nation’s public discourse had not gotten so poisonous, this man would have felt that he could just act with impunity,” Dalglish told USA TODAY. “But I can’t help but think that the nastiness from the top hasn’t helped.”