ANNAPOLIS, MD: Capital Gazette editor and community reporter Wendi Winters, one of the five people killed in Thursday’s shooting at the Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper, ran her own boutique PR firm in New York City three decades ago.
Winters, who was 65 years old, had worked at the Capital Gazette since 2002, but she previously worked in PR. From 1981 to 1988, she was president of her own firm, Wendi Winters Public Relations, according to her LinkedIn account.
The shop promoted American and international fashion clients and projects, producing fashion shows and special events and coordinating clients’ public relations, advertising, and marketing messages. Her clients included JCPenney, Sears, and Gimbel Brothers, according to Winters’ LinkedIn account.
She also worked for "two top New York City agencies," according to her profile on the Capital Gazette website, though the identities of the firms weren’t clear.
Shortly after joining the newspaper, she founded an annual event in Annapolis called P.R. Bazaar, where local journalists and PR pros could meet to learn from each other. A Facebook page for the two-evening event, which took place in April this year, noted that 2018 was the 15th straight year the meet-up took place.
"The goal of the two evenings is to help you make connections with people who are in the business of ‘getting the news out,’" the event page explained. "Find out what they want – or don’t want. Learn the best way to contact them – and make a lasting connection – directly from them."
Winters was an award-winning journalist, earning second place in the Feature Article category from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. Four years later, she won a second place award from the group for a medical or science article. Winters also won a Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, according to her LinkedIn page.
Winters was a mother of four, based in Edgewater, Maryland.
Friends and colleagues remembered Winters on social media on Friday.
Ugh. We are all thinking about the families of the injured and killed in the Capital Gazette shooting. We worked w/ the wonderful Wendi Winters on stories over the years. Very sad. Much love and peace to everyone affected by this truly heinous act.— Tellem Grody PR (@tellemgrodypr) June 29, 2018
Jarrod Ramos, the suspect in what police have called a "targeted attack" on the Capital Gazette, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
Other victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who had covered high school, college, and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November. Two others were injured in the attack.