Journalists and educators are a lot alike.
They are driven by something altogether different than most professionals. It’s not about the money. It’s about something intrinsic. It’s generally about affecting a positive change in the community and making an impact.
In the media world, it’s about informing about the news of the day and sharing the stories of our community. In education, it’s about teaching young minds reading, writing and arithmetic as well as steering our future decision makers in a positive direction while sharing life lessons.
While their work days are much different, thanks to last week’s incident in Annapolis and countless tragedies inside school halls around the country, reporters and teachers have both felt the impact of random mass shootings. Perhaps most importantly they understand the odd feelings that come when safety is being questioned.
It’s been a week since the shooting at The Capital newspaper building in Annapolis. That shooting hit home here at The Dispatch, as we too are a community newspaper with open doors and easy community access. As a result of last week’s shooting, we have immediately instituted a locked door policy at our workplace. It only seemed fitting, although an adjustment for everyone.
It’s probably unnecessary and may seem an extreme reaction. We are fine with those claims, but the last thing we are comfortable with is assuming. Something like what happened last week in Annapolis will probably never happen at our newspaper office. However, we have been threatened before as a result of news articles published, and there’s no way we can ever say with absolutely certainty that it will never happen to us. It probably and most likely would not, but it’s best to do whatever we can to ensure our safety.
As we took these necessary precautions in today’s world, we marveled over the personal accounts published in The Capital over the last week. We were not surprised, like many others, about the staff putting together a paper within hours of the shooting. That’s simply what journalists do, even if it means reporting on themselves.
One of the most poignant pieces I read last weekend was about Windi Winters, one of the five who were killed by the crazy man. She was an editor, columnist and community reporter.
“I worked with Wendi more than maybe anyone else in my career,” wrote co-worker Joshua McKerrow of the mother of four. “Her heart was full of love — love for her children, her community, her newsroom, her country. I will miss her for the rest of my life.”
Each of those who died has their own story. We encourage our readers to do a web search and learn about their lives. It’s not often those who report the news become the news. It’s awkward, but we think a suitable way to pay tribute to them is to take an interest in the lives they led, the stories they told and those they leave behind to grieve.