Newseum Enshrines Post-Shooting Edition of Capital Gazette in Permanent Collection

The owner of the Annapolis Bookstore donated her personal copy, the museum says

A copy of the Capital Gazette published one day after four journalists and a sales assistant were killed in the newsroom is now a part of the Newseum's permanent collection.

Copies of Friday's Capital Gazette featuring the headline "5 shot dead at The Capital" were quickly bought up in Annapolis, Carrie Christoffersen, a curator and Vice President of Exhibits said.

Christoffersen says staffers at the Newseum knew without discussion that a copy needed to be preserved in their collection, which highlights the importance of free press and the First Amendment. 

Print News Archivist Kat Wilmot started making phone calls.

"She just knew immediately we needed the newspaper they put out," Christofferson said. But copies of the Capital Gazette throughout the city had been bought up.

"We had a bit of a rough time," Christoffersen said.

Then, Wilmot called the Annapolis Bookstore. There, too, the papers were sold out.

The bookstore owner offered to donate her personal copy, Christoffersen said. The Newseum accepted and announced on Twitter Saturday that the slightly crinkled copy would become part of the permanent collection.

"The paper was clearly read and not fresh off the newstands, which is fine," Christofferson said.

Christoffersen says that Newseum print archivists seek publications from the reporters and outlets that are closest to a story.

Of course, no other publication could have been closer to this tragedy. The shooting occured Thursday afternoon. That night, the paper unveiled the front page, News4 reported. It hit newstands Friday morning.

The front page honors the five Capital Gazette employees killed: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

The above-the-fold story recounted the attack: Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, entered the newsroom and opened fire. Ramos had a years-long history of threats toward the paper.

Christoffersen says the shooting is the largest loss of life in the journalism community in a single incident since 9/11.

"These folks were targeted. You can't really get a more powerful freedom of the press question than this," she said. "This is really a moment to take a step back and take stock."

Authorities used facial recognition software to help identify the Capital Gazette shooting suspect. It's new technology that is growing among law enforcement. News4's Scott MacFarlane reports on the controversy associated with the software.

The Newseum hasn't decided how the paper will be incorporated into the collection or displayed for the public. It will be preserved and eventually shared with the public in a way that puts the event in context.

"We're very much still in the thick of this story right now," Christoffersen said. "These are the first pieces we've collected, but certainly not the last."

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