Chauncey Bailey Project

Commentary: Four journalism groups join to continue Bailey’s work

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Four journalism organizations — the National Association of Black Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and the Center for Investigative Reporting  — are teaming up to continue the journalism of slain Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, NABJ President Bryan Monroe announced at the NABJ convention in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Bailey was slain on Aug. 2 by a suspect who police said told them he killed the Oakland Post editor because he was angry over stories the journalist had written about the bakery, its employees and leaders. Investigators said Devaughndre Broussard also was concerned about stories that he thought Bailey might be working on.

The idea for the four organizations to team up was inspired by the example set after the murder of Don Bolles of the Arizona Republic by a car bomb in 1976. Bolles’ death prompted a 23-part series that set out “to show organized crime leaders that killing a journalist would not stop reportage about them; it would increase it 100-fold,” as Investigative Reporters and Editors notes on its Web site.

Freelance journalist Kenneth Cooper, former national editor of the Boston Globe and an NABJ member, proposed the idea on Tuesday on the Journal-isms message board.

A member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, retired reporter Mary Fricker, had already urged her group to take action. The four organizations quickly agreed Tuesday to discuss how they could work together to continue Bailey’s work.

Interested journalists may contact this columnist or Cooper, or may e-mail nabj@nabj.org, Monroe announced.

Bailey’s publisher, Paul Cobb, vowed at Bailey’s funeral Wednesday that Bailey’s final story will be told, according to an account by Henry K. Lee Thursday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Bailey ‘dared and cared to tell it like it was’ and liked to call himself the ‘Barry Bonds of journalism — the best and most disliked,'” Lee reported.

“‘It ain’t over. This community will know what Chauncey Bailey and I were working on,’ said Cobb, prompting a standing ovation by the standing-room-only crowd. ‘I want us to make his untimely, forced exodus our genesis, our genesis of renewed advocacy for investigative journalism,'” Lee wrote.

On Tuesday, police said that Broussard went looking for Bailey twice at his home before ambushing and killing him with shotgun blasts — some fired as he lay dying on a downtown street, Harry Harris and Martin G. Reynolds reported in the Oakland Tribune.

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