“Don’t shoot the messenger.” The saying is a well-worn truism in newsrooms. Many people don’t want to read about it when things go wrong; people foul up and their world takes a sharp turn toward chaos. Then they blame the bearer of those bad tidings.
And now, with the shooting deaths at a Maryland newsroom, an unfortunate, dark twist to the turn of a phrase must now add shadings of grief, sadness and ultimately resolve in the newspaper world.
No one likes the bad news that journalists report on, but one of the underpinnings of our society since its inception is that we accept the bad with the good and, hopefully, learn from it.
By all accounts, the man who entered the Capital Gazette newsroom and shot five journalists to death wasn’t willing to accept an account of wrong-doing in his life that had been reported by the paper. That unwillingness to deal with the consequences of actions he had taken and had been punished for in a court of law had spiraled into a deadly obsession against a newsroom that led to a planned, systematic attack.
Newsrooms around the nation are now looking more warily at the men and women who could fit the profile of the shooter in Annapolis. But that doesn’t mean any flinching on the job. Journalism is a profession that prides itself on its toughness and that means often shouldering potential threats that crop up to get to the truth. Like any newspaper, the Telegraph and all of its affiliate publications do take threats of violence seriously and reports them to law enforcement. And those threats do occur occasionally.
But news of the killings in Maryland only strengthens the Telegraph’s resolve to maintain fairness and truth in the news stories we provide for our readers.
We accept the brickbats and bouquets equally – and on a daily basis. We have thick hides, but we also have open hearts.
And we will continue to find the stories that Telegraph readers will want to read to understand their world, their nation and, most importantly, their local community – the good and the bad.