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A passion for storytelling

“There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories from our community. We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment. We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community.

“We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records & bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters & editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be.”

These words were tweeted on Thursday by Capital Gazette editor Jimmy DeButts after five of his employees were gunned down in their Annapolis, Maryland newsroom.

There are no words for the tragedy of those murders, just as there have been no words for the other shootings that have taken place.

But this one is different for us. This one hits home as to what we aspire to do every day, not to mention the reality that a group of people not that different from us were killed for doing the same job.

When you decide to be a journalist – especially in community journalism – you sign up for long hours, miniscule weekends and working most holidays while your friends and family are at home or on the beach. You do this job knowing that you will receive far more angry phone calls and emails than not.

But you also do this job because you love it, and you can’t imagine doing anything else. We, like most journalists, have a passion to tell the stories of our community and what makes it special, to be the watchdogs that tell you what you need to know about the place in which you live. And we will continue to do so, with passion and integrity.

Our hearts are broken for the staff of the Capital Gazette and the families and friends of the victims, but we also know that these were individuals who would not want us to shirk our responsibility and our passion for community journalism. These people lived their work, they took pride in their work and they died doing their work.

And, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, their co-workers picked up the torch and kept running the race.

So will we. Because community journalism is more important than ever.