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Robertson School Statement

Jun 30, 2018

Posted in: News

Peyton Rowe, Associate Professor

We, the faculty and staff of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, extend our sincere condolences to the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where five staff members were killed by a gunman Thursday.

We offer our sympathies to the slain employees' families and to Gazette employees wounded and traumatized by the assault. Moreover, we stand in solidarity with the Gazette and news organizations throughout the world in voicing our support for journalism as the lifeblood of democracy. Journalists, such as the employees at the Capital Gazette, provide news and information critical for citizens to make decisions and for society to function.

Thursday's attack on journalists hit close to home: One of the Gazette reporters killed was Wendi Winters, who graduated from VCU in 1975. (Winters graduated from VCU's School of the Arts.) Three other victims were associated with the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, which partners with the Robertson School's Capital News Service program.

The mass shooting at the Capital Gazette comes about three years after Alison Parker and Adam Ward -- journalists at WDBJ, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia -- were shot and killed during a live broadcast.

Journalists speak truth to power; they shine a light on information that the public needs to know. At the Robertson School, we are appalled by today's climate of hostility toward journalists -- demonstrated by Thursday's assault on journalists and on the public's right to know. As we prepare our students to enter the journalism profession -- to report the news accurately and fairly and to engage readers and viewers in discussing issues important to them, we stand united beside our students as well as current journalists.