Capital Gazette Newspaper Faces Buyouts and Downsizing : Embedded Part 4: In our final episode, the Capital Gazette is swept up in the troubles of the newspaper industry. Its corporate owners are making painful cuts, and a hedge fund with an ominous reputation seeks control. Staff members, who survived the 2018 shooting and kept the Capital going, wonder if the paper can last.
NPR logo

Capital Gazette: "We Are The Newsroom"

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/975601926/976099926" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Capital Gazette: "We Are The Newsroom"

Capital Gazette: "We Are The Newsroom"

Capital Gazette: "We Are The Newsroom"

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/975601926/976099926" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ANNAPOLIS, MD - JULY 02: The Capital newspaper's logo is stenciled onto a newspaper vending machine following last week's shooting at the community newspaper's office July 2, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

ANNAPOLIS, MD - JULY 02: The Capital newspaper's logo is stenciled onto a newspaper vending machine following last week's shooting at the community newspaper's office July 2, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One day in August 2020, editor-in-chief Rick Hutzell held a mandatory meeting for the staff of the Capital Gazette. He had big news to share from the paper's owner, Tribune Publishing.

"The company has decided to close a lot of its remote locations," he told his staff. "Annapolis is on that list."

Tribune Publishing was shuttering the Capital Gazette newsroom — permanently — to cut costs. The Capital would keep operating, but the building would close.

Hutzell admitted this was ominous news but tried to encourage his staff. "The things that make up a newsroom are not the walls. They're not the desks," he said. "It's the people. We are the newsroom."

But it was hard for the staff to feel positive. The Capital's physical newsroom had taken on special meaning after the deadly shooting in their old offices in June 2018. Their new office had become a space where they could support each other and memorialize their lost colleagues.

"People sent so many portraits and paintings and all this stuff," said reporter Selene San Felice on the day she moved out. "Now, there's no wall to hang it on. Like, having a place to put that meant something."

The closure was not the only challenge for the Capital. In early 2020, Tribune Publishing also offered buyouts, and a hedge fund that's widely accused of gutting newspapers was close to gaining control of the company.

The staff shared a sense of pride for rebuilding the paper after the shooting. But now — after everything they'd been through — could the realities of the modern newspaper industry put an end to the Capital Gazette?