TIME magazine made their announcement of Person of the Year this morning — and it was actually a group of persons, journalists whom the magazine dubbed “The Guardians.”
For the first time, the magazine included a deceased person in that list, Jamal Khashoggi.
The magazine published four different covers, highlighting four journalistic heroes. One cover includes the staff of the Capitol Gazette in Annapolis, where five journalists were killed last summer. One of them was a man I went to college with, Gerald Fishman.
The Gazette staff handled the tragedy with extraordinary professionalism and, even, grace — insisting on publishing a newspaper the day after the slaughter.
As TIME’s editor writes in the current edition of the magazine:
The gunman at the Capital Gazette allegedly was a local man aggrieved, years after the fact, that the paper’s reporting had brought his harassment of a woman out of the shadows. The massacre he perpetrated made America the fourth deadliest country in the world to be a journalist this year. But while the loss was immense and intensely personal, that day the staff at one of the nation’s oldest news outlets did what it has done since before the American Revolution—they put the paper out.
The press always has and always will commit errors of judgment, of omission, of accuracy. And yet what it does is fundamental. Says Andrea Chamblee, whose husband John McNamara was one of the five Capital Gazette staffers killed: “A lot of people don’t understand how important what goes on in their community is to them and how it affects their quality of life until it’s gone.”
For taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out, the Guardians—Jamal Khashoggi, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Maria Ressa and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.—are TIME’s Person of the Year.
Below is a brief video from TIME about the Gazette staff.