Editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61, was an award-winning writer and editor who worked at the Capital Gazette for 26 years and was known in the newsroom for his shy demeanor, incisive writing, wry wit and the cardigan with holes in the elbows that he always seemed to be wearing. He was also known for being in the office at all hours.
“It didn’t matter if you were working late at night or early on a Saturday, he was there,” said Elisha Sauers, a reporter at the Virginian-Pilot who worked with Fischman at the Capital for eight years. “I just remember that if we were all having a conversation around him, he might be very quiet and you might even forget he was there and then out of the blue he would have some very funny remark and chime in. He always had the perfect aside.”
Fischman, one of five employees of the Capital Gazette killed in a shooting Thursday at the newspaper’s office, won first- and second-place awards from the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association this year for his editorials about a noose that was left at a local middle school and about a county council member’s effort to censor public speakers at a council meeting.
“He had a much louder voice in his writing, than he did in person,” Sauers said. “He was so shy and avoided eye contact, but he was a lot more confident in his writing voice.”
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Fischman graduated from the University of Maryland in 1979 and served as the state editor on the school’s newspaper, The Diamondback.
Sauers described the Capital newsroom as small, scrappy and close-knit.
“If you had a bad day, you just wanted to go out to a bar with your colleagues and commiserate,” she said. “Even though a lot of us scattered to different newspapers, we’ve all kept in touch.”
She spent much of Thursday afternoon texting with many of those old friends trying to find out news about their former co-workers still at the paper.