State Steps Up to Fund Memorial for Capital Gazette Staff

The five Capital Gazette staffers killed in a newsroom shooting in 2018 will be honored in a new memorial to be built at Newman Street Park in downtown Annapolis, according to the newspaper. The state is set to award $300,000 this week for the construction of the Guardians of Free Speech, a memorial that pays tribute to John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with five pillars erected in front of the text of the First Amendment carved in stone. Moody Graham of Washington, D.C. is designing the memorial. 

Maryland plans to award the money on July 1 and the project is set to be finished and unveiled in 2021, on the three-year commemoration of the mass shooting. 

Governor Larry Hogan officially declared June 28 Maryland Press Freedom Day in honor of those killed and to “honor and protect all journalists serving a vital role in the world’s democratic process to inform residents of the happenings of their governments.” 

“Two years ago, five Marylanders lost their lives to a heinous and unthinkable act of violence,” Hogan said. “We honor those we lost and all who have lost their lives in the pursuit of informing our citizens, we recognize the vital role that the freedom of the press has in our democracy and our duty to honor and protect this most fundamental constitutional right.” 

A Fallen Journalists Memorial in Washington, D.C., was also proposed last year and is currently awaiting approval by the full U.S. House of Representatives. The new memorial would be the only one in the District to commemorate journalists after the closing of the Newseum in 2019.