Capital Gazette staffers mourn, return to work and help a community heal
Capital Gazette staffers are back at work in a temporary newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, a few miles from the site of last week’s shooting spree.
And on Wednesday some of the journalists will march in the city’s Independence Day parade.
“We are committed to rebuilding,” Trif Alatzas, the publisher of the Baltimore Sun Media Group, the parent division of the Capital Gazette, said in an interview with CNNMoney.
He said the company is looking for permanent new office space for the surviving employees.
“We are committed to that community,” Alatzas said. “‘If we don’t cover it, who else will?’ That’s what I’ve heard from a lot of people.”
Four journalists and an ad sales associate were killed in last week’s attack. It was the deadliest day for journalists in America since 9/11.
Now some of the remaining staffers are juggling story assignments with memorial services. People are coping in different ways.
“Many of them are working through, and some of them need time. We’re encouraging them to take whatever time they need,” Alatzas said.
He was at the temporary office space on Tuesday, and said “it was inspiring to see everybody together.”
Some of the survivors who hadn’t resumed work stopped by on Tuesday morning when a member of the Washington Capitals hockey organization brought the Stanley Cup to the office. Staffers posed for photos.
“It was clearly a big morale boost for everyone, particularly the hockey fans in the newsroom,” the paper’s editor, Rick Hutzell, said in a Capital story.
The seven-day-a-week paper has kept publishing in the wake of the attack. The Baltimore Sun’s resources have been a big help. So have reinforcements from other papers owned by Tronc, the Capital’s parent company.
“We had journalists fly in from the Chicago Tribune yesterday. We had somebody here from the Allentown Morning Call. Somebody from the Virginian-Pilot,” Alatzas said.
Other newsrooms have sent food, gift baskets and other items.
“We’ve gotten offers from the entire journalism community, saying ‘Hey, whatever you need, we’ll send support,'” Alatzas said.
The American Society of News Editors and other journalism groups are planning a moment of silence on Thursday at 2:33 p.m., exactly one week after the attack. The Capital Gazette and all other Tronc-owned newsrooms will participate.
The paper’s employees were also invited to walk in the city’s parade on Wednesday.
Normally, the staff explained in a letter, they cover the parade: It’s at the heart of what a community newspaper does. And the staff feel out of place taking part, rather than taking notes from the sidelines.
But this year, they recognize that “we are reluctant symbols at the moment, maybe forever.”
The staff said they are participating “because we want our readers and our community to see that we believe things will, eventually, be OK again. Eventually.”