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Newsroom attack feels like home invasion

7/5/2018, 6:35 p.m.
When news broke that a man with a shotgun had killed five employees in the Annapolis, Md., Capital Gazette newsroom, ...

As one of my colleagues observed, I feel as though tragedy has hit a member of my extended family. I have often advised journalism students that, “If you plan to stay in this business, get used to the people who are working around you. You’ll probably see them again. Media are a very small world.”

Indeed, I feel as though I know those who were killed while doing their jobs, based on the descriptions given by their co-workers at the paper.

Gerald Fischman was editor of the editorial page, which, after the deaths, ran a mostly blank page and a message that included the words, “We are speechless.”

Wendi Winters was a community reporter who also oversaw editing of special publications and wrote a “Teen of the Week” column.

John McNamara was an old-school professional who “didn’t wear a fedora,” a colleague said, “but maybe he should have.”

Rebecca Smith was recently hired as a sales assistant in the Annapolis office after working in marketing for a health care organization, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Rob Hiaasen was a former features writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist. He also taught journalism as an adjunct at the University of Maryland.

The brother of best-selling author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen, Rob’s humorous online columns reveal how he, like his brother, had mastered the art of giving readers something to chuckle and think about amid the depressing front page news of the day. We could use some of that humor now.