Newsrooms across the country upping security after shooting at Capital Gazette

After a deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, newsrooms around the US are on high alert.

At least a half-dozen major newspapers are putting more security in place around news organisations.

Armed police in Annapolis after mass shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper building; armed guards outside US media premises following Annapolis mass shooting.

In New York City, police dispatched units to media outlets across the city to guard against potential copycat or coordinated attacks. New York Police Department spokesman Peter Donald said Thursday dozens of locations were getting extra cover.

Donald said the action was purely precautionary and not based on a specific threat or information gathered from the Annapolis attack.

“They will be there until we feel like there is no longer a need,” Donald said.

Capital Gazette photographer Joshua McKerrow took this photo of the scene outside newspaper’s Maryland office, where a gunman opened fire, killing five staff members and injuring several others. -JOSHUA MCKERROW

Capital Gazette photographer Joshua McKerrow took this photo of the scene outside newspaper’s Maryland office, where a gunman opened fire, killing five staff members and injuring several others.

Tom Marquardt, the former executive editor of the Capital, posted on Facebook that the shooting is “impossible to grasp”.

“I can’t even fathom with any degree of understanding what happened at my old newspaper today,” Marquardt said. “The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.”

Bruce Alexander, a security expert who has worked at the Office of Antiterrorism Assistance at the US Department of State, said it’s common to take extra precautions in the immediate aftermath of a shooting.

Armed police in Annapolis after mass shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper building; armed guards outside US media premises following Annapolis mass shooting. -AP

Armed police in Annapolis after mass shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper building; armed guards outside US media premises following Annapolis mass shooting.

“There always the concern in the short period thereafter that other media institutions will become the target,” Alexander said. “Other attacks might embolden people who might not have been predisposed to do it.”

Chicago police also said they were taking additional security precautions in the aftermath of the shooting, which killed five people and injured two others.

“We are in real time communication with the FBI and Annapolis Police on the Maryland incident,” police said in a statement, according to CBS. “We are also checking in with Chicago media outlets so you can expect to get a visit from a CPD tactical team officer to talk with your station security teams.”

The Los Angeles police department also upped security at local newsrooms in the wake of the shooting. In Nashville, police dispatched two patrol cars to monitor the outside of the Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network, reporters there said.

“With the utmost caution in mind, we are ramping up security at our offices in Tysons (Corner, Virginia), downtown DC. and Salisbury, Maryland,” said Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of the USA Today Network.

As news of the shooting developed, journalists took to Twitter to discuss security plans in their own newsrooms.

Others worried that attacks on newsrooms will become more common, and journalists will increasingly fear for their safety.

“The media itself as an institution – there’s a heightened focus on it, these days in particular,” Alexander said, adding that attacking a media organisation by default garners a great deal of publicity.

 

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SOURCE: Stuff