All of us at the Press Club of Long Island are deeply saddened by the senseless murder of four journalists and a sales assistant at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., on June 28. Gerald Fischman, 61, Rob Hiaasen, 59, John McNamara, 56, Rebecca Smith, 34, and Wendi Winters, 65, were simply doing their jobs in producing a first-rate community-based daily newspaper. An assault such as this is an attack not only on a single publication, but also on the free press itself.
The murder of journalists demonstrates the daily dangers that reporters and editors face as they perform their duties in informing the public with the vital information they need to take part fully in this great democracy. Whether journalists are covering war overseas, the war on drugs here at home or even a domestic dispute, they put themselves on the line, armed only with pads, pens, laptops and cameras. We hope and trust that the public now better understands and appreciates journalism’s risks.
The Press Club offers our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this heinous attack, and we strongly encourage donations to the Capital Gazette Families Fund and the Committee to Protect Journalists.