I am Paul W. Gillespie, a photojournalist at The Capital Gazette newspapers in Annapolis, Maryland. We suffered a great tragedy in our newsroom in June 2018. I have been working on a photo project I have titled Journalists Matter: Faces of the Capital Gazette since January of this year. I am now trying to raise funds to produce a photography exhibit of the work. This will include large prints, framing, etc and an opening reception. If I raise enough money I am hoping to do a photo book. With your help I will display the work in a location to be determined in the Annapolis/Anne Arundel County area in the near future. I also would like to show the work in other locations around the country. I hope you can all come to the openings.
*** I really appreciate all the love you have shown, but I have to ask that if you are a public political figure that I cover at The Capital, please do not donate. I will have to return the money due to my job. I really appreciate the thought.***
Journalist Pat Furgurson covered the tragedy of his newsroom.
On June 28, 2018, my life and the lives of my Capital Gazette newspaper colleagues - really my family members - changed forever. A man armed with a shotgun blasted his way into our newsroom murdering anyone he could see. I dove under my desk, and by the grace of God, he did not see me.
As he murdered people around me, at first I thought, this can’t really be happening, but it was. Then I thought, I can’t believe I'm going to die. During a lull in the shooting, I left my spot and ran for the door he came through, and had to make my way through the horrors in front of me. He chased and shot at me, just missing my head. I got out, I survived, but five of my Capital Gazette family members did not. My life was spared but changed forever. ￼
Journalist Rachael Pacella survived the newsroom attack.
Months went by after the attack. I was full of anxiety and then began sinking deeper into depression, all part of the PTSD I suffer now. The adrenaline and shock of all the post-tragedy events, the funerals, and most of the attention had faded. Now it was just me and my thoughts, and by December 2018, it was getting bad. I find it tough doing anything that is not absolutely necessary, which is mostly working so I can pay the bills. ￼
Survivor/Photojournalist Paul W. Gillespie in his makeshift studio
My days off alone are the worst. When my wife is off we can do things to keep me distracted, but at home alone, I would just sleep or spend too much time on social media feeling bad. Also in December, I watched a documentary about photographer Platon Antoniou, and it set off a spark in me to do something creative with my time. Something I could control in a life that feels out of control.
I cleared a space in my basement and set up a small photo studio. Now I needed subjects for my portraits. The Capital Gazette staff was honored in December by Time magazine being chosen among The Persons of The Year, calling us and other journalists “Guardians in the War on Truth.” That got me thinking that my fellow journalists at The Capital would make great subjects and probably would sit for me.
They have endured unimaginable obstacles in the last year and have pushed through to keep telling the stories from our community.
Journalist Phil Davis survived the attack.
I wanted to show our Capital Gazette journalists who continued to put out the paper in the tough days after the shooting, both old and newer journalists, but I also wanted to represent those we had lost. I wanted to get family members of those killed to sit for those who could not.
Maria Hiaasen's husband, editor Rob Hiaasen was killed in the attack.
Most everyone I asked agreed to sit for me. They have given me a great gift in doing this for me, and I always will be grateful. I hope I can do this project and them justice by producing a meaningful show of the work. ￼ Andrea Chamblee, widow of journalist John McNamara
Thank you for your love and support. It also means the world to me.