On April 30, 2019 a former student of the University of North Carolina's Charlotte campus opened fire on a classroom, killing two and injuring four.
When the shooting began, another student, an editor of the the college's newspaper the Niner Times, was attending her last college class.
Just hours earlier, she had announced her retirement from the college newspaper on social media.
In what should have been a joyful day marking the completion of her college career, this student editor found herself barricaded in her classroom, sitting in the dark, reporting on the mayhem unfolding from her laptop.
During the next several hours, as the campus remained on lockdown, more of the Niner Times' student journalists covered the chaos from their phones, posting updates, snapping photos, doing whatever they could to exercise a modicum of control over a situation they couldn't have possibly prepared for.
Later, these students would learn that one of their own, a Niner Times sports writer, was among those injured.
Reading the account of this young news team's harrowing ordeal, I was reminded of another shooting almost a year ago at the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland on June 28, 2018.
Angered by an article published seven years prior, a gunman walked into the newspaper office and killed five, wounding two more as they tried to escape.
I remember, vividly, watching and reading reports from the scene.
Most clearly, I remember reading the headline that I'll never forget: “'I don't know what else to do': Grieving Capital Gazette journalists cover the massacre of their own newsroom”
I remember the photograph that accompanied that article on the Baltimore Sun's website.
Capital reporters set up in their parking garage, holding each other tightly as they tried to cover the violence they had just witnessed against their own friends and co-workers, visited upon them by a man with a shotgun who simply didn't like what the newspaper wrote about him.
I'll never forget following this story with my own news team, and the effect it had on us.
'I don't know what else to do'
That quote will never leave me.
But I know what to do. And so did the staff of the Niner Times and the Capital Gazette.
They did what they were meant to do. They kept reporting. They kept the public informed.
They put their fear and grief aside to focus on the facts. And they persevered.
I've never been so angry, or so profoundly proud to be a journalist as I was that day. It's a confusing mix of emotions, but something I've always understood.
This is a maddening profession. Having the knowledge and desire to research and report the facts is so often unappreciated.
It's a thankless job with long hours, pressing deadlines, and the constant pressure to not only be accurate, but fair and balanced as well.
During my years as a reporter, I've pressed issues that some would rather have kept private; written about the murders of both civilians and law enforcement officers; the horrific crimes of child abusers; the devastation caused by domestic violence, and other terrible things most of the general public will never come in direct contact with.
I've made enemies, seen the bloody crime scene photos and read the victims' statements in all their explicit details, and sat in the courtroom while someone who caused so much pain and suffering showed no remorse for their actions.
All this I've done so that you, the reader, can stay informed, because for better or worse, I believe in the news.