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Former Projo reporter commends Maryland paper for publishing despite tragedy

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — As their newsroom became a crime scene, reporters from The Capital Gazette in Annapolis continued to work on the next day’s paper, and report on the tragedy that killed five of their colleagues.

Journalists with the Annapolis-based daily huddled under a covered parking deck of the Annapolis Mall, not far from where scores of other media outlets were clumped together awaiting further details of the shooting that left five people dead, including colleagues, and others injured.

The paper’s staffers were resolute Thursday that they would publish the next day despite the tragedy. Capital reporter Chase Cook wrote on Twitter Thursday evening: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Photographer Josh McKerrow edited photos on a laptop in the garage deck.

“It’s what our instinct was — to go back to work,” McKerrow said. “It’s what our colleagues would have done.”

Reporters brushed aside any logistical difficulties, publishing a newspaper when the newsroom is an off-limits crime scene.

“I knew they would. There was just no doubt they were going to put out a paper because that’s what journalists do,” Mike Stanton told Eyewitness News on Friday.

Stanton should know. He was a reporter for The Providence Journal back in 2002, when the newspaper was the target of gunfire.

“It was very upsetting, shocking,” Stanton recalled. “As a journalist, you’re used to covering these tragedies around you. To have it happen in your newsroom, or your backyard, or to your colleagues – it’s shattering.”

Two people were killed and another was injured after an employee opened fire at the Projo’s production facility.

Despite being the subject of violence, the newspaper published the next day. The head story: “Journal Worker Kills 2, Injures 1.”

Stanton said it’s part of the job.

“Reporters are human beings, reporting on other human beings, that care deeply about their communities,” he said. “A lot of them don’t make a lot of money, that’s not why they’re in it. They’re not enemies of the people. They are the people. They represent the people.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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