ANNAPOLIS, MD – The vow by Capital Gazette journalists that they would, and did, publish a newspaper they day after a gunman killed five of their colleagues drew national praise, both from news professionals and readers. Reporters and editors from the Annapolis paper’s owner, The Baltimore Sun, immediately helped the small daily keep publishing, but journalists from all over the country arrived to do whatever was needed, as well. A new call for reinforcements went out nationwide on Tuesday in an effort to let Capital staffers heal.
Binghui Huang, a reporter for the Morning Call newspapers in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was one of several Capital alumni who went back to Annapolis to help in the days after the shooting. Huang had worked at the paper for two years before moving on to Allentown. With the support of her boss, plus family and friends who let her crash while she temps in Annapolis, Huang covered community news as needed.
“It’s been a weird time,” she told The New Yorker. “I feel like I need to be here. But I’ve got lots of things going on up there, as well, in Pennsylvania. So, I’m just taking it a day at a time. But it feels good to be here.”
On Tuesday, the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization put out a call to keep journalists coming to the Maryland offices through September. Reporters and editors who can commit two to five consecutive days in July, August or September are needed to work at the Baltimore Sun office. To volunteer, complete this form by Tuesday, July 24. The Sun will contact volunteers with more information.
You can also donate to help the families, victims and survivors of the attack via The Capital Gazette Families Fund.
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The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and other news organizations have helped the Annapolis paper publish.
“I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing. I’m going to help out,” said former Sun editor Laura Smitherman, now deputy national editor for NPR, told The Washington Post last week. “I’ll be giving lots of hugs. And editing, I’m sure.”
“I feel it was a privilege to come up here,” said Carl Fincke, an editor at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, who spent two weeks editing stories for both the Sun and the Capital.
Jarrod Ramos, the accused gunman charged with five counts of murder after opening fire at the Capital Gazette, was apparently seeking revenge for a July 2011 article the Capital Gazette published about a criminal case against him for harassing a former high school classmate so severely she feared for her life. The article was apparently a source of anger that simmered for years. He is charged in the deaths of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.
On Monday, Maryland’s Congressional delegation wrote the White House to ask that Winters be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for facing down the accused gunman with no more of a weapon than her trash and recycling bins. The politicians urged President Donald Trump to consider Winters for the nation’s highest civilian honor, which has traditionally been awarded by the president to those who have made meritorious contributions to the security of the United States, to world peace, to culture or to other significant endeavors.
According to eyewitness accounts from survivors of the June 28 shooting, Winters armed herself with the closest weapons at hand – her trash and recycling bins – and charged the shooter, shouting for him to stop. It is believed that Wendi’s actions distracted the shooter enough to enable several of her coworkers to escape, said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, in a statement.
“Previous presidents have awarded the Medal of Freedom posthumously on dozens of occasions and we believe Wendi is a hero deserving of the same,” the delegation wrote. “She died not only protecting her colleagues, but in defense of the First Amendment.”
The entire Maryland delegation except Rep. Andy Harris, R-District 1, sanctioned the letter. A spokeswoman for Harris told the Capital Gazette he is reviewing the letter.
Uptown Fest Proceeds To Help Shooting Victims
Organizers of Uptown Fest 2018said Monday that proceeds from the door and raffles will be donated to The Capital Gazette Families Funds. The festival will be held from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Union Jack’s in Annapolis. Doors will open at 3 p.m. Hosted by Maker’s Mark, this event is bringing together some of the finest high-energy rock acts in the area. The show is 18+.
More than 12 artists, who have donated their time and talent, will perform on two stages. Artists include Deaf Scene, MountainWolf, Del Florida as well as the Annapolis based band Kit and the Chardonnay Boys.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Visit Ticket Web to purchase tickets.
Benefit Concert Planned
Maryland native rockers Good Charlotte will headline a benefit concert July 28 to support the Capital Gazette shooting victims’ families and survivors. City officials said the concert will also promote freedom of the press and its importance to democracy. Headliners Good Charlotte have connections to the city and come from Waldorf, Maryland.
“Annapolis will always be dear to us, and we couldn’t be more proud of how the city has handled this tragedy,” said Benji and Joel Madden, band founders, in a statement. “It’s only natural for us to want to do our part for the city and the people who have given us a place in Maryland that we still call home.”
The Good Charlotte concert will begin in the afternoon with several musical performances and guest speakers coming from the world of journalism. Proceeds will be directed to the fund established for the victims and survivors and journalism scholarships. The event will take place from a stage on College Avenue.
The event will be ticketed. Information regarding tickets will be available soon.
The local fundraiser established to help the families, victims and survivors of the attack is The Capital Gazette Families Fund, which will be managed through the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. The Michael and Jacky Ferro Family Foundation will match up to $1 million of donations, according to tronc, the parent company of The Baltimore Sun Media Group, which includes the Capital.
The fund is described this way on the foundation website: In honor of the Capital Gazette victims, their colleagues, and their families in Annapolis, MD, this fund has been established to provide immediate relief and long-term recovery support to those individuals directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy. Grants can be applied to grief and trauma counseling, medical expenses not covered by insurance, funeral expenses, and other associated expenses and services.
Bloomberg Government reporter Madi Alexander started a GoFundMe page to help the shooting victims. The fund had received about $206,000 in donations by July 16.
“Our hearts break for our colleagues in Annapolis and we want to do whatever we possibly can to help them pay for medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs, and any other unforeseen expenses that might arise as a result of this terrible shooting,” Alexander wrote.
PHOTO: The June 29 edition of the Capital Gazette for sale on a newspaper stand, one day after five newspaper employees were shot and killed in the newsroom by a lone gunman. Jarrod Ramos of Laurel Md. has been arrested and charged with killing 5 people at the daily newspaper. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)