COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ/AP) —The University of Maryland’s journalism school on Tuesday dedicated a memorial to the five Capital Gazette employees shot and killed in an attack on the Annapolis newspaper’s office.
The honor comes on the same day the newspaper’s staff was included by Time magazine among its 2018 Person of the Year honorees.
Tuesday’s ceremony dedicated the Capital Gazette Memorial Seminar Room at the university’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. A memorial on the wall includes photos of those killed in the June 28 shooting: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters.
Even as he saw himself in black and white, Capital Gazette staffer, Paul Gillespie says the full scope of what being on the cover of TIME Magazine didn’t sink in right away.
“We did the photo shoot on Sunday,” said Gillespie. “We thought it was just for a story. We didn’t know anything about ‘Person of the Year.'”
This year’s cover is one of four, honoring imprisoned and murdered journalists. The theme: The guardians and the war on truth.
“It means a lot for them to remember all the journalists that do what they do every day to bring people true, factual news,” said Gillespie. “and stories from their communities and the ones that have paid the ultimate price.”
Five staffers paid that price on June 28 when a gunman stormed into the Annapolis newsroom and killed the 5 Capital Gazette employees.
The man charged with killing them had a history of harassing the newspaper’s journalists.
Hiaasen was an adjunct lecturer at the journalism school. Fischman and McNamara earned their bachelor’s degrees from the university decades ago.
Spread out in front of the memorial were copies of The Diamondback student newspaper that included articles Fischman and McNamara wrote during their undergraduate years.
Trif Alatzas, publisher and editor-in-chief of Baltimore Sun Media Group, which includes the Capital Gazette, said the memorial is “such a wonderful tribute to our dear colleagues” and their families.
“We mourn with you, and we are inspired by the memories you have shared with us all,” he said of the slain employees’ relatives. “We will make sure they are never forgotten.”
After the reveal of the cover, which staff says did come as a surprise, the paper’s editor, Rick Hutzel declared it a bittersweet honor.
“I think it’s obvious to say we would give it all up to have our friends back,” said Hutzell.
A plaque honoring each of the victims is now visible for future generations to see.
“We knew that the University of Maryland needed to do something,” said Lucy Dalglish, Dean of the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism.
Some reflect on the meaning of the memorial.
“They meant a lot to us,” said Gillespie. “and having something here at the college that people are going to see every day when they come here for classes, it just means a lot.”
The memorial is forever proof that, while the 5 may be gone but they will never be forgotten.