A mass shooting in its newsroom didn't stop the Capital Gazette from publishing today.

On June 28, 2018, a gunman opened fire in newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five people.

Among the dead were four of the paper's editors and reporters and a sales assistant. After such a heinous tragedy, no one would have blamed the paper for shutting down for the day. No one would have blinked an eye if everyone who produces the paper had gone home to process the horror, mourn the loss of their friends and colleagues, and get away from the nightmare they had just experienced.

Police investigate the scene after a gunman killed five employees at the Capital Gazette. Photo by Saul Loeb/Getty Images.


But later on the day of the shooting, Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook tweeted, "I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow."

And they did. The Capital Gazette came out on schedule on June 29, 2018 — because journalists are amazing.

When the president and others call real journalism "fake news," these are the people they're spitting on.

Journalists are trained to run toward fire, not away from it. They're trained to look for facts and push their feelings to the side. They're trained to share true stories as objectively as possible, to recognize their own biases and do their best not to let those biases cloud their reporting. They are human, but they do their best to not let their human tendencies get in the way of truthfully reporting on what they're seeing and hearing.

And they keep doing that even when their entire profession — and even their existence — is being demonized and defamed. Because heroes keep showing up, even when the powers that be try to spin them into the bad guys. And when actual bad guys violently attack them, heroes keep doing what they do.

Real journalism is a real thing. It's not dead. It's not hopelessly corrupt. The vast majority of mainstream news outlets are made up of people who have chosen to dedicate their lives to seeking out truth and sharing it — even risking their own lives to do so.

Lynne Griffen, a journalism student of one of the people killed in the shooting, John McNamara, mourns near the newspaper's office. Photo via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The Capital Gazette publishing the day after a mass shooting in their own newsroom is just one example of journalists' heroic fortitude.

Any time we hear a Pulitzer-Prize-winning news outlet being smeared as peddling "fake news," we should picture the faces of the journalists who have died in the line of duty. The reporters, photographers, and camera operators who go to war zones to inform us of what's happening in the world, putting their own lives on the line in the process. The journalists who speak truth to power, who endure personal attacks and death threats as an unwritten part of their job description, who show up over and over no matter what because without them we would live in darkness.

A free press is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for a reason. Without real journalists seeking out and sharing truth, we are too easily led by propaganda, and power is too easily abused. Imagine a country where the government controls the press, where only stories the president likes are reported, where those in power choose what information the people have access to. Delegitimizing the majority of long-standing, well-reputed news outlets is a first big step toward that reality, and no free citizen should stand for it.

At the same time, journalists are human — and that humanity makes them good at their job.

Checking personal biases doesn't mean leaving humanity at the door. Despite the goal of objectively reporting the goings on in our world, people who work in the news are not robots, and we wouldn't want them to be. Sharing true stories and sharing them well requires a balance of staying detached while deeply caring.

The day after the shooting, the Capital Gazette editorial board published a simple, stark message on its opinion page that illustrates that truth.

"Today we are speechless. This page is intentionally left blank today to commemorate victims of Thursday's shooting at our office.
Gerald Fischman
Rob Hiaasen
John McNamara
Rebecca Smith
Wendi Winters
Tomorrow this page will return to its steady purpose of offering our readers informed opinion about the world around them, that they might be better citizens."





Here's to the heroes at the Capital Gazette, and to the thousands of journalists who keep fighting to share truth and inform our democracy.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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