Thursday’s murder of five people in the office of The Capital Gazette has left all of us at Herald Democrat shaken.

And confused.

And angry.

And scared.

We are a staff — from reporters, to sales reps, to press operators, to bookkeepers, to newspaper carriers — committed to community journalism. We cover the news and do our best not to become part of the story. But this hits close to home. The people murdered in Annapolis, Maryland, were just like many of us.

They were an editorial page editor, a columnist, a sports editor, a local news reporter and a sales assistant, but they could have been any of us.

Despite its portrayal in movies and television shows, working in the news business is not a job most do for the money or fame. We work long and erratic hours that keep us away from our loved ones more than we’d like, but it is through that stress, sweat and shared vision that we become a family. We care for each other, for our readers and for the work we do. We are driven by our passion for truth and transparency.

Journalism has long been known as the Fourth Estate because of its influence on society and the political process. We weren’t chosen by the public like your senator or mayor, but we strive to be your voice.

And just like our brothers and sisters in Annapolis, who published a newspaper hours after their colleges were gunned down, we remain committed to that shared mission of providing news and holding leaders accountable.

We mourn for our colleagues, we hope that you mourn with us, and we ask that you offer your support and donate directly to the victims of the Annapolis shooting (