Annapolis photojournalist: My colleague was no one’s ‘enemy’

Posted at 2:40 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-09 00:27:04-05

It surely wasn’t the first time President Donald Trump called the press an “enemy of the people.” But the latest Twitter missive aimed at the news media struck a nerve with Joshua McKerrow.

A photojournalist at the Capital Gazette, McKerrow mourned, remembered and celebrated his beloved colleague, Wendi Winters, and four other staffers — all killed in June when a gunman walked into the newsroom of the Annapolis, Maryland, daily newspaper.

McKerrow’s touching remembrance late Thursday soared across the Twittersphere after the President dished out what is now almost an old standard — “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

“Wendi,” McKerrow emphasized on Twitter, “was no ones enemy.”

The photojournalist’s string of tweets mostly focused on an annual holiday assignment with Winters.

McKerrow said, “Today I did the annual story on holiday decorations at the Governor’s residence. I’ve done it every year, for years. A very light but very fun story. Every year my reporting partner was Wendi Winters.”

This year, he had a new partner, Selene San Felice, because, he said, “Wendi was murdered in June.”

San Felice “did a great job” and McKerrow said he “really thought (he) could hold it together” during the work.

“I moved through the rooms with my tripod, focusing on the trees and ornaments. All I could think about was Wendi. I felt like she was with me, that she was actually present.”

McKerrow said he could almost hear his slain colleague’s voice “echoing through the empty rooms” and asking “How many cookies are you making this year?” He also recalled that she “made us all Oreo holiday cookies” every year except one.

“I was ok til the very end. Interviewed the butler, like I have every year, and when we were done she took me aside and whispered, ‘I really miss Wendi. Next year I’m going to name a cookie for her.'”

“And that was it. The tears started, and I’m standing in the Maryland Governors home weeping to myself about my dead friend. She died in The Capital newsroom on June 28th, shot by a man who wanted to kill every journalist he could.”

McKerrow said it isn’t known yet what pushed the killer to enter the newsroom and gun down his colleagues, Gerald Fischman, 61; Rob Hiaasen, 59; John McNamara, 56; Rebecca Smith, 34; and Winters, 65.

“Five people died, Rebecca, Wendi, Gerald, Rob, John. I always type their names in the order I think they were killed. I think, Rebecca first, at the door. Wendi charged him. Gerald and Rob were trapped in their cubicle. John, trying to get out the blocked exit.”

McKerrow said he “cried on and off all day. I miss her very much. I’m comforted that in a way she’s still with me, when I do the work that she love to do. Journalism. Patriotic, truth telling, American. We’ll keep on doing the work.”

And, he said, “if we die for it, someone else will pick up the threads, and report on the holiday decorations at the Governor’s house. Its what we do.”

McKerrow ended that tweet with -30-, the code traditionally used by many reporters to signal the end of a story.