|An audience member asks a question as Gina Carvallo, Trif Alatzas, moderator Deborah Weiner and Bruce Shapiro listen.|
"People believe in what they do," said Trif Alatzas of the Baltimore Sun Media Group. "They really just believe in the mission, and they're very dedicated." Four news staffers and an advertising representative died at the hands of a man who apparently had a grudge against the paper for its coverage of his legal problems.
"That solidarity among journalists matters a lot," because most people don't understand how journalists view their work, Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, told the session via Skype.
"Journalism is a profession of passion," said Army magazine writer Gina Cavallaro. "You don't just do it to pay a mortgage, because it doesn't pay that well." She talked about the fatal shooting of a solider in Iraq as she walked next to him. "I think about it every single day. I didn't prepare for something like that," and neither did the people at the Capital Gazette, she said.
Alatzas said columnist Wendi Winters, one of those killed, had gone through an active-shooter drill at her church two weeks before the attack, and charged the shooter with recycling cans. "Wendy made a decision she was going to fight," Alatzas said. "Those moments provided time for the other six people [in the newsroom at the time] to survive."
Shapiro said, "I don't think we have ever contemplated an event such as a direct attack on a newsroom." He said harassment and threats to journalists are becoming more common, and "We need to create a culture of taking it seriously."