Yesterday evening, a crazed gunman with a ridiculous motive opened fire inside the headquarters of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. A horrific, senseless act with a tragic outcome leaving five employees slain at the hand’s of another person with no regard for human life or decency.

Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters. These five individuals lost their lives carrying out the daily duties in their own workplace. All executed responsibilities ranging from editing, writing columns, on-site reporting, and in Smith’s case, working as a sales assistant.

Different people, different home lives, different families, different backgrounds, one newspaper.

These five people went to work, left their loved ones in the morning, and expected to return home when their work was completed. Not when the clock told them they were finished, but when they decided their day was finished. Instead, on June 28th, 2018, the decision wasn’t theirs.

Student Union Sports offers a unique opportunity for college students; if you’re enrolled in higher education, enjoy writing about sports and want decent exposure to a wide variety of Twitter followers spread out across the country, some reading from military bases mid-deployment, we offer that platform. We keep it light-hearted, carefree, and attempt to make it entertaining.

For the most part, our Slack channel is filled with laughter, sarcasm and anything else to get us through the day. We don’t work in a uniform office, but we work together. A few handfuls of us are in school to become something more than a blogger, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy what we do while we do it. We’re not journalists, we don’t break news. We write the second-hand stories, put our scattered thoughts into word form and hope it looks good enough to post on our Facebook because we know Aunt Betty is scanning for any mistakes along the way.

For those with plans to make the leap to the next step, yesterday’s news served as a major warning to us, even those already in the field. When I first read the news about the shooting, I had a numbed feeling and attitude toward the event because it didn’t have an immediate effect on me, my family or my surroundings. After processing the information while carefully scanning the news at the dinner table, it struck me.

John McNamara was a former sportswriter turned editor. A spitting image of a path I have imagined for myself. It wasn’t me, it’s far from being me, Mr. McNamara was nearly forty years older than I, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is forever something somebody like me will have to remember when venturing into the world of journalism.

2018 has been a funky year for the journalism world in the political climate, and whether or not this attack was politically charged, an attack on good American journalism has occurred. Journalists shouldn’t be forced to live in constant fear for what they publish. They shouldn’t have to imagine a target on their back. But it’s a nerve wracking realization that today, men and women around the globe and in the United States will head to work this morning to write the news like they’ve done for days, weeks, months and years, but today they’ll sit at their desk in a fearful state of feeling unsafe in their environment.

Seeing writers that I admire tweet out their stories of threats of physical harm from readers made me nauseous.

It’s a daunting thought, but the most important piece of information to hold and understand: these people ARE showing up to work today, despite their personal safety potentially at risk to do their job, serve the people and uphold the integrity of the press.

To the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, to the friends and family of the victims, and to the entire journalism community, we send more than just our thoughts and our prayers, but also our love, support and sympathy.

Keep being badasses and putting out the damn paper.

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