This week, in light of a gunman’s attacks on the Annapolis, Md. Capital Gazette that killed five and disrupted the entire newspaper industry, we shift our voice from the editorial “we” into something more personal.
We are the people who toil every week to bring you fresh issues of Triad City Beat: Senior Editor Jordan Green, who has been covering this region since 2005; Staff Writer Lauren Barber, a recent Wake Forest grad planting new roots in Ardmore; Art Director Rob Paquette, who is probably better known for his work in the city’s underground heavy-metal circuit than anything he does for our pages. Two sales people. A couple of drivers. A publisher to keep everything running the way it’s supposed to.
We start making the issue eight days before publication, before we’ve even finished the current one, and we start the grind of churning out news, relevant cultural content, compelling imagery. We work late nights, early mornings, weekends and holidays — this week’s issue hits the streets on the Fourth of July, most of them hand-delivered by those same staffers who wrote the stories, sold the ads or otherwise contributed to the effort.
We don’t do it for the glory, which is good because there is none.
And we don’t do it for the money. At this point, in this industry, committing acts of journalism strictly for the money sounds like the punchline to a horrible joke — or the recipe for a clickbaity failure.
We do it because we know it’s important work, this business of keeping the people informed. We do it because — by decades of experience, or desire, or for whatever other reason — we have something to say. We do it because, on some level, we have to: a terrible compulsion to get people on the phone and demand answers to the questions that somebody needs to ask.
And we do it because if we don’t, who else will?
Our president has declared us “enemies of the people.” The president of a powerful lobbying group, the NRA, has declared “open season” on our profession and those engaged in it. At right-wing rallies one can buy T-shirts that have violence towards journalists as a central theme.
And last week, an internet troll shot up a newsroom.
Like newspaper people everywhere, we pause in our duties to mourn the dead writers and editors, the sick climate that produced this unholy turn. We salute our colleagues who still feel exactly the same way we do about delivering the truth onto a world that doesn’t often want to hear it.
Then we buckle down and turn out copy. We are getting the damn paper out, whether the bastards like it or not.