Editor of Capital Gazette leaving three years after deadly newsroom shooting
The editor of the Capital Gazette is leaving the newspaper three years after a gunman opened fire on the newsroom in Annapolis, Md., killing five employees.
Editor Rick Hutzell published his farewell column on Saturday for the Maryland newspaper, highlighting those lost in the attack.
“I wish I could say it’s all been grand, and I’m headed off to retirement,” Hutzell said. “But it hasn’t, and I’m not.”
“The murder of my five friends, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith, changed me. I always enjoyed the job. But I became consumed with the notion that it was my purpose to save the paper. A man with a shotgun tried to kill us — to kill me and the newspaper I’ve poured my life into for 33 years. I wasn’t going to let it die,” Hutzell wrote.
After three decades working at the publication, Hutzell said he took a buyout from Alden Global Capital, the new owner of the paper. Alden Global Capital bought the paper from Tribune Publishing last month.
Hutzell stated that he thought it was important to cover the trial of the gunman, Jarrod Ramos, who had a long-standing grudge against the newspaper, according to The Associated Press.
“The Capital understands as an institution this was an attack not just on us or Freedom of the Press, but on this community as a whole,” the editor continued.
Ramos has pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to his charges in connection with the shooting due to insanity. However, a trial to determine if he is criminally responsible will begin later this month, according to the AP.
The paper won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its work following the June 2018 shooting.
Concluding his farewell, Hutzell expressed that despite the hardships he endured and the increased attacks on both himself and his news organization, it was a great joy to work with his colleagues over the years.
“One of the greatest joys of my life has been generations of reporters, editors and photographers who are convinced they have an important contribution to make. My job has been to help give birth to their successes,” he said.
“Things will change. That is the nature of life. It will be different under new owners and leadership. Some of it will be good, some will be bad. I hope you’ll keep reading it because that is how it will survive and grow,” he added.