Chauncey Bailey Project

You can’t kill a story by killing a journalist

Victims of Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Capital Gazette photo
Victims of Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Capital Gazette photo

By Mary Fricker, Bob Butler, Thomas Peele, Robert Rosenthal
The Chauncey Bailey Project

Thank you for “putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Two months ago today a gunman shattered the glass front doors at The Capital newspaper offices in Annapolis, Md., and opened fire with a shotgun, killing five people and injuring two.

Murdered were Rob Hiaasen, 59, an assistant editor and columnist for The Capital; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a longtime sports writer; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant.

Jarrod W. Ramos, arrested hiding under a desk in the newsroom after the attack, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and multiple accounts of attempted murder, assault and weapons offenses.

Opinion: Oakland knows too well the story of a murdered journalist
By Thomas Peele, The Chauncey Bailey Project
June 30, 2018: “Oaklanders know the story too damn well. Someone with a shotgun out to kill a reporter. The 2007 killing of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey on a city sidewalk was the last slaying of a domestic American journalist over a story. Until Thursday.” Read more here.

In the days following the rampage, two judges and an attorney received letters signed “Jarrod W. Ramos,” dated the day of the shooting and indicating that the writer wanted to kill everyone in the newsroom. Ramos was known to hold a grudge against the newspaper for writing in 2011 about a criminal harassment charge against him.

We have news for you, Mr. Ramos:

You can’t kill a story by killing a journalist.

Instead, as Black Muslim Bakery CEO Yusuf Bey IV discovered in Oakland a decade ago, murdering a journalist will bring a flood of reporters and editors to vastly expand the story, expose every ugliness, reveal every corrupt detail.

Bey IV had editor Chauncey Bailey murdered in 2007 for writing a short story about the Black Muslim Bakery bankruptcy. Instead of media silence, Bey IV got The Chauncey Bailey Project and scores of journalists who published almost 600 stories.

In Annapolis, The Capital quickly moved to an undisclosed location, more than 370 journalists volunteered to help and the team has already published dozens of stories.

We, from the Chauncey Bailey Project team, stand with our colleagues in Annapolis.

We have sent them a 14” x 18” framed poster with words handed down to us from Bob Greene, the 1976 Arizona Project and Investigative Reporters & Editors. The words were an important inspiration for us, and we hope they bring The Capital team the same comfort and resolve, as they move through the tough months ahead.

A few hours after the Annapolis shooting, The Capital tweeted, “Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

We are inspired by their commitment to carry on.

Thank you, Capital newsroom, for putting out a damn paper.

Thank you for proving once again that you can’t kill a story by killing a journalist.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Archives