Tag Archives: capital gazette

Dean Lucy Dalglish Urges Maryland Senate to Make June 28 ‘Freedom of the Press Day’

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy A. Dalglish.

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy A. Dalglish.

COLLEGE PARK (3/15/19)University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Dean Lucy A. Dalglish urged a Maryland Senate committee this week to support legislation that would memorialize five Capital Gazette staff members killed in an attack on their newsroom last year and also “reinforce the importance of journalism’s role in democracy.”

Dalglish, testifying in support of a joint resolution that would designate each June 28 as “Freedom of the Press Day” in Maryland, said the work of journalists around the world is difficult and dangerous, but rarely in the United States has it been deadly.

“We have sometimes become somewhat complacent about the relative safety in which American journalists work. They occasionally get jailed or beaten, it’s rare they lose their lives,” Dalglish told members of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee Thursday in Annapolis. “Not so after June 28, when the Capital Gazette suffered an unspeakable loss.

“Murdered Merrill College alumni Gerald Fischman and John McNamara, Merrill adjunct lecturer Rob Hiaasen, and their colleagues Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith, contributed every day to one of the core institutions that make America different and a beacon of hope for so many around the world: community journalism.”

The Senate resolution, sponsored by Annapolis state Sen. Sarah Elfreth, a Democrat, would add June 28 to the 16 official commemorative days, six months and one week that are already recognized in state law, according to legislative analysts. A hearing is scheduled next week for an identical resolution filed in the House of Delegates.

Dalglish said the commemorative day would serve as a reminder that “citizens must be able to count on quality, accurate, fair information from experienced journalists as they make decisions that we must all make in a democratic society.”

She also noted that amid increased hostility toward journalists, Merrill College has thrived. The fall 2018 freshman class grew by more than 50 percent over the previous year, and graduate student enrollment increased even more.

“Every time someone utters the words ‘fake news’ or ‘enemy of the people,’ another kid decides to be a journalist,” Dalglish told the committee. “Our students are telling us they want to hold the powerful accountable, they want to help the environment and enlighten their communities.

“They want to make this a better world.”

In response, Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat who chairs the committee, called journalism “an important profession” and praised Merrill College for growing into a nationally recognized leader in journalism education.

The state legislature will adjourn for the year on April 8.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Capital Gazette Memorial Seminar Room Dedicated In Knight Hall

Capital Gazette reporters and University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism alumnae Danielle Ohl (left) and Rachael Pacella sitting in the Capital Gazette Memorial Seminar Room in Knight Hall.

Capital Gazette reporters and University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism alumnae Danielle Ohl (left) and Rachael Pacella sitting in the Capital Gazette Memorial Seminar Room in Knight Hall.

COLLEGE PARK (12/12/18) — The conference room in Knight Hall — noisy and packed to its edges with friends, family and colleagues of the five people killed in the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting on June 28 — fell silent as the speakers began.

Andrea Chamblee (‘83), the widow of John McNamara (‘83), called on writers to tell gun violence victims’ stories, no matter how numerous.

Maria Hiaasen, whose husband was Rob Hiaasen, urged everyone to help keep guns out of the hands of people with erratic or violent tendencies.

Erica Fischman, the wife of Gerald Fischman (‘79), recalled with pride that her husband’s writing gave voice to the voiceless.

Rick Hutzell, editor of Capital Gazette, spoke fondly of Wendi Winters’ enthusiasm for the community and Rebecca Smith’s sweet personality.

They were all remembered Tuesday when the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism dedicated the Capital Gazette Memorial Seminar Room in Knight Hall. Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said the five were “not the enemy of the people” — as President Donald Trump has called journalists — “but the glue that holds the community together.”

The room — used for classes, meetings and events — is intended to teach its visitors about Capital Gazette and the five people who gave their lives. The memorial was dedicated the same day the Capital Gazette staff was named among TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year honorees.

“They are all important figures in the history of community journalism,” Hutzell said of his colleagues. “Today’s dedication recognizes that, and I think they would all be proud of that as part of their legacy.”

That legacy includes lessons passed to the scores of young journalists who looked to the Capital Gazette staff members as mentors.

Rob Hiaasen, who first taught a news writing class at Merrill College this past spring, would have completed his second semester by now. Maria Hiaasen said the stacks of paper on his desk at their home showed his excitement — files were labeled “Quizzes!” and “Syllabus!” — and he had compiled a list of writers each of his students should read (Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Ta-Nehisi Coates).

“He did love the craft of journalism and the craft of writing,” she said. “And I know he would be damn proud and honored by what’s happened here.”

Fischman said her husband, Gerald, “had dedicated his whole life and talent in journalism.”

“His parents wanted him to be a lawyer, but he had followed his childhood dream and had chosen to be a journalist,” Erica Fischman said. As an editorial writer, he saw himself as the voice of those who could not speak, and took great pride in that responsibility.

His words inspired the next generation — starting with his daughter, Uka Saran.

“He’s the reason of every success in my life and my career, to this day,” said Saran, a graduate of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

McNamara, a sportswriter, also had a plaque in Xfinity Center dedicated to his memory during a Maryland basketball game Tuesday evening. Chamblee said she had just signed a contract to publish her husband’s third book — about Washington high school basketball.

But Chamblee called on McNamara’s friends — and all writers — to do a different kind of reporting. She meticulously articulated the names and stories of people recently killed by guns, and urged journalists to avoid becoming numb to the violence.

“As writers, that’s your tool, your skill and your horrible burden,” Chamblee said. “Make sure we all get used to not getting used to it.”

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Dean Lucy Dalglish: ‘Democracy Cannot Survive’ Without Journalists

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.


Tell us your stories about John, Gerald and Rob.


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.”

Dean Lucy A. Dalglish on MSNBC after the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting.

Dean Lucy A. Dalglish on MSNBC after the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Capital Gazette Owner Starts Scholarship Fund for Merrill College Students

John S. and James L. Knight Hall, home of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

John S. and James L. Knight Hall, home of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

COLLEGE PARK (7/2/18) — To recognize and honor the five people who lost their lives in the Capital Gazette newsroom last week, the newspaper’s parent company has started a scholarship fund for University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students.

Tronc — owner of The Baltimore Sun Media Group, which includes the Capital Gazette — announced the Capital Gazette Memorial Scholarship Fund on Sunday. It will be awarded annually to select students pursuing a degree in journalism at the university.

Many people have been wondering how they can help. This is how.

“So many of our friends and alumni have asked what they can do,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College. “In recognition of the incredible outpouring of support, the company has set up this fund.

“The college is grateful for their generosity, and honored to recognize the legacy of these five incredible people.”

The fund was created in memory of Capital Gazette 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.

If you would like to support the scholarship fund, click here.

Fischman (‘79) and McNamara (‘83) were University of Maryland alumni. Hiaasen taught news writing at the Merrill College. Another alum, Rachael Pacella (‘13), was injured during the attack.


Tell us your stories about John, Gerald and Rob.


Tronc also announced a fund for the families, victims and survivors of the shooting. The Capital Gazette Families Fund is being managed by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. The Michael and Jacky Ferro Family Foundation will match up to $1 million in donations.

The Merrill Family Foundation, founded by former Capital Gazette owner and publisher Philip Merrill — for whom Maryland’s journalism school is named — has donated $100,000 to the fund. If you would like to support the families fund, click here.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Tell Merrill College Your Stories About John, Gerald and Rob

COLLEGE PARK (6/29/18) — The University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism welcomes your stories about three members of our community who were killed in the Capital Gazette newsroom Thursday.

If you want to share a story about John McNamara ’83, Gerald Fischman ’79 or Rob Hiaasen, an adjunct lecturer here, please write your answer in the form below.

Once you submit your answer, you will be able to read others’ responses.

In addition to McNamara, Fischman and Hiaasen, the two other Capital Gazette employees killed in the newsroom shooting were Wendi Winters, 65, a features writer who started out as a freelancer there nearly 20 years ago; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a recently hired sales assistant.

Reporter Rachael Pacella ’13 was one of two injured employees. She did not suffer a gunshot wound and was treated and released from a local hospital, according to The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321