An office building of the Capital Gazette newspaper offices until 2018 shooting that left five workers dead, is seen Monday, April 15, 2019, in Annapolis, Md. The Pulitzer Prize board awarded the Capital Gazette, a special citation Monday for their response to the shooting. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The editor of the Capital Gazette, Maryland, said Monday that his staff experienced a number of “rollercoaster moments” as it will be a special Pulitzer Prize citation for the coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its own editorial team.
“Obviously, there were a lot of mixed feelings,” Capital Gazette editor Rick Hutzell told The Associated Press. “Nobody wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends.”
The Capital Gazette, located in the capital city of Maryland city of Annapolis, published on plan the day after the shooting attack that claimed five members of staff’ life. It was one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in AMERICAN history. The man charged in the attack had a longstanding grudge against the paper.
Hutzell, editor of the Capital Gazette Communications, said the paper had entries for five categories, including a joint entrance with The Baltimore Sun for the latest news. Although the Gazette does not win in one of these five categories, the Pulitzer board awarded the special citation and an extraordinary $100,000 bequest to further its journalism.
The Pulitzer board said that the special quote is a tribute to the journalists, the staff and the editorial staff of the newspaper “for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in the AMERICAN history in their newsroom,” and for a “tireless commitment to covering the news and serving their community in a time of unspeakable grief.”
Hutzell said the Pulitzer judges treated their decision for a touch of extra luxury.
“It is very difficult if you are reporting in some respects to yourself,” he said. “That is not what we do. We are behind the camera, not in front of it.”
Five newspaper employees — John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen — were killed in the attack last June 28 . The shooting did not stop other members of the to cover and put out a newspaper the next day, with the help of colleagues at The Baltimore Sun, which is owned by the same company.
Jarrod Ramos, the man charged in the newsroom shooting, had a history of harassment of the newspaper, journalists. He filed a lawsuit against the paper in 2012, claimed he was defamed in an article about his conviction in a criminal harassment case in 2011. The complaint was rejected as unfounded.
County police arrested Ramos in the newsroom. They said he was a blocked output and a shotgun blast his way through the entrance.
Ramos’ trial is scheduled to start in November. He pleaded not guilty last year of first-degree murder charges. 29 April is the deadline for lawyers to change his plea to not criminally responsible due to insanity.
In October, the National Press Foundation announced that Hutzell won the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award . The award was established in 1984 to recognize imagination, craftsmanship, integrity and an ability to motivate staff.
In December, the newspaper staff was recognized by Time magazine among its 2018 Person of the Year nominee.