Newspaper employees slain by gunman remembered for their professionalism

The four journalists and a sales assistant killed Thursday in a shooting at a Maryland newspaper are being remembered by colleagues for their kindness and work ethic.

Authorities said the gunman entered the Capital Gazette in Annapolis and “looked for his victims.” 

Police identified the employees as:

  • Gerald Fischman.
  • Rob Hiaasen.
  • John McNamara.
  • Rebecca Smith.
  • Wendi Winters.

Two other employees were injured in the attack.

Gerald Fischman, the opinion page editor and a member of Capital Gazette Editorial Board, had worked at the newspaper for 26 years. (The Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)

Fischman, the editorial page editor at the Capital Gazette, and who had worked at the paper for 26 years, was an “old-fashioned journalist,” a former editor of the paper said.

Steve Gunn remembered Fischman as “the master of AP style” who “made sure everything was just right.”

“He was famous for working long days and being very precise in his language and always making sure the editorial page reflected the heart of the newspaper,” Gunn told The Associated Press.

Rob Hiaasen was described as a ‘gifted editor who had an aura of an artist around him.’ (The Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)

Hiaasen’s family is “devastated” by his death, said his brother, author Carl Hiaasen.

The prolific novelist and a longtime columnist for the Miami Herald confirmed that his brother, also a columnist and an editor, was one of the  victims.

Carl Hiaasen said in a phone interview that his family “was devastated beyond words” by the senseless killing.

“He was the most remarkable person. So gifted and talented and dedicated to journalism,” he said, his voice choked with emotion.

Saying he was too full of grief to speak further, Hiaasen referred an Associated Press reporter to a post on his Facebook page in which he described Rob as one of the most “gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”

Gunn said Rob Hiaasen was a “gifted editor who had an aura of an artist around him who made people want to make journalism a beautiful craft.”

Reporter John McNamara is remembered by one former colleague as workmanlike. (The Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)

McNamara was a longtime staff writer. Gunn said McNamara was workmanlike — “classic come to work and tell me what I need to do.”

Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant, is remembered by her boss as a ‘kind and considerate’ employee who seemed to like working in the media. (The Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)

Smith, a sales assistant, was a thoughtful person who made sure the sales office ran smoothly, said her boss, Capital Gazette advertising director Marty Padden.

“She was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business,” Padden told the Baltimore Sun.

Wendi Winters, a reporter, was a role model for younger journalists at the newspaper. (The Baltimore Sun via Associated Press)

Winters, a special publications editor, was “the heart of the newspaper,” Gunn said.

She was passionate about serving the community and a role model for younger journalists, he recalled.

“She was in many ways the best part of the newspaper in that she cared so much about the city.”

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