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'We're Not the Enemy:' Deadly Newsroom Shooting Touches Detroit Journalists


June 29, 2018, 5:40 PM by  Alan Stamm

Expressions of shock, kinship and resolve are posted Friday as present and past print journalists in Detroit describe the impact of deadly newsroom gunfire 560 miles away.

"Makes me very angry," says Maryann Struman, Detroit Free Press metro editor since 2012. "Deeply shaken by this attack," comments Martha Thierry, a former assistant graphics editor at the same paper. "I'm sorry for all of us."


A headline from Columbia Journalism Review.

Another person with Freep ties, Robert Huschka, says his "heart aches today." His post also says:

I spent most of my life working in newsrooms. My wife still works in one — along with many of my best friends. We need to turn down the violent rhetoric attacking journalists. And media companies need to take a hard look at how exposed their people may be.

Huschka, an 18-year Freep veteran, was executive editor until last July. He's now director of education strategies at the Association for Advancing Automation i n Ann Arbor.

These voices show how Thursday's five deaths at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., affect those who gathger news here or used to do so. Most didn't know the victims in a literal sense, though a strong professional kinship binds them in a brotherhood and sisterhood of newsrooms large and small.

"My worst nightmare as a journalist, a newsroom manager and a human being played out in Maryland yesterday," reflects Kelley Root, Detroit News assistant managing editor.

More from her and others on social media:

'We are not the enemy:' We have taken some small steps to improve security and we need to do more. But in a profession built on connecting with the public, walling ourselves off is the opposite of what we want to do.
I have no great insights here. I’m just sick inside about what’s happening. I send my deepest sympathies to the journalists in Annapolis who managed to get a paper out today despite the horror. We are not the enemy. And we will keep reporting. -- Kelley Root

'They died on duty:' I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach, thinking about these newspaper men and women I never met. . . . They died on duty, serving their community with information and knowledge.
The Capital Gazette is a newsroom that could very well be any of the many newsrooms I've spent most of my young adult life working in — in Mount Pleasant, Adrian, Saginaw, Jackson, Springfield, Mo., Wilmington, Del. and Detroit. We newspaper people get up every day and go to work for the people of this country, trying to make it better informed and more just society. We’re not the enemy. -- Chad Livengood, Crain's Detroit Business

'The madness:' Gazette editor Rob Hiaasen was "a friend from newspapering days at the Baltimore Sun in the late 1990s. A really gentle, warm guy -- and one hell of a writer. Senseless is the word that immediately comes to mind. Far angrier words follow. God bless his family. And God help us all, for the madness that blankets so much of this world." -- Stephen Henderson, WDET host and former Freep editorial page editor

♦ 'I know them:' I don’t know them personally. But I know them, especially having worked in small newsrooms. . . . My heart breaks every damn day, today a bit deeper. But I'm still going to work. I still love what I do. -- Elizabeth Conley, former Detroit News photographer (2003-15) now at the Houston Chronicle

'I cried:' This morning I cried. It just was overwhelming to think of reporters hiding under their desks, then hours later reporting what happened to them. Because that's what we do: move through tragedy around us to bring light to issues and stories in hopes of making change.
People forget this in their attacks on the media: Overwhelmingly, journalists want to inform and make the world better by doing so. I love my chosen profession and mourn today for the five people who lost their lives yesterday. I mourn that there is such hate boiling over in our country. -- Nancy Hanus, marketing and audience development director, Metro Parent Media Group

♦ 'The unthinkable:' While facing the unthinkable, we as journalists still manage to inform our communities and report the truth. -- Stephanie Steinberg, managing editor of Neighborhood Seen and past Detroit News reporter (2016-17)

'God bless this business:' I could cry. God bless this business. -- Kyle Feldscher, a breaking news editor at CNN and former MLive/Ann Arbor News reporter (2010-15)

♦ 'We need a free press:' I’m angry too, heartbroken for the loss of these lives, and worried for the safety of the real people I know and those I don’t who work in a profession that I always loved, and am proud to have served in. Now more than ever we need a free press, and small papers like the Capital Gazette are its backbone.
Threats and violence against us are unacceptable. -- Charlotte Massey, former Detroit News photo editor


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