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Virginia journalists first to be slain in U.S. since 2007

Posted at 1:00 PM, Aug 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-26 13:00:05-04

NEW YORK — Until Wednesday, the Committee to Project Journalists had counted 39 deaths of journalists around the world in 2015, in countries like Syria, Yemen and France. Now two more names, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, are being added to the list. Parker and Ward, the reporter and photographer who were slain while on live television in rural Virginia, are the first members of the news media killed while on assignment in the United States in almost a decade.

They were employees of WDBJ in Roanoke.

According to the committee, the most recent journalist killing in the U.S. before Wednesday “was in August 2007, when Chauncey Bailey, editor-in-chief of the Oakland Post in California, was shot dead on an Oakland street.”

The nonprofit group advocates for journalists around the world, usually concentrating on war-torn countries.

“We do not yet know the motive of the attack that killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward, but we do know that being a journalist is potentially dangerous anywhere in the world,” Carlos Lauria, the group’s senior Americans program coordinator, said in a statement.

“We condemn this fatal shooting and send our condolences to the journalists’ families and colleagues,” Lauria said.

Journalists in newsrooms across the U.S. expressed condolences to the station on Wednesday.

“We’re all in this together as journalists,” WDBJ general manager Jeffrey Marks told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield in an interview.