Guild reaches out to journalists in Newtown

The Buffalo Newspaper Guild provided a chicken wing lunch Dec. 27 to the staff of the Danbury News-Times, the daily newspaper that regularly covers Newtown, Conn. where the mass school shooting took place on Dec. 14.

It was our way – in Buffalo style – to acknowledge the tragedy and show our support for the reporters, editors and other newspaper personnel with the tough job of communicating this story to the public.

The News-Times is a Hearst newspaper – it’s not in the Guild, in case you were wondering – with a staff of about 30 and a circulation of 30,000.

The paper is located close to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults lost their lives, so close that its employees were directly touched by the terrible events.

One of the victims, 30-year-old Lauren Rousseau, was the daughter of copy editor Teresa Rousseau. After years of working part-time jobs and as a substitute teacher, she finally landed a permanent substitute teaching job at Sandy Hook Elementary School in October.

“I’m used to having people die who are older,” her mother told the News-Times, “not the person whose room is up over the kitchen.”

Tom Baden, editor of the News-Times, said our call to the newspaper asking about what we might do in the wake of the shootings came immediately after he and others at the newspaper had returned from the memorial service for Rousseau.

News reporter Maki Backer, who raised the idea of the Guild responding in some way to the Connecticut tragedy, helped worked out the details. She said Baden seemed surprised and touched by the Guild’s offer and expressed his appreciation on behalf of the staff.

Arrangements were made with a local Danbury restaurant to supply 240 chicken wings.