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Bay Area Media Collaborate to Continue Slain Journalist’s Investigative Work Into Your Black Muslim Bakery
Dori J. Maynard, (510) 684-3071
OAKLAND – An array of Bay Area journalists, as well as highly respected media organizations and local university journalism departments, have formed an investigative team to continue the work of journalist Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr., and answer questions regarding his death. Bailey, the editor of the weekly Oakland Post, was murdered on Aug. 2 while reporting on a story regarding the suspicious activities of the Your Black Muslim Bakery.
In an unusual collaboration, more than two dozen reporters, photographers and editors from print, broadcast and electronic media, and journalism students are launching the Chauncey Bailey Project – an investigative unit that will continue and expand on the reporting Bailey was pursuing when he was gunned down. Devaughndre Broussard, 19, a handyman for Your Black Muslim Bakery, has confessed to the crime, according to police, but many questions about the possible motive for the killing have yet to be answered.
“We cannot stand for a reporter to be murdered while working on behalf of the public. Chauncey’s death is a threat to democracy; journalists will not be intimidated,” said Dori J. Maynard, president and CEO of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. “This type of crime cast a chilling effect over our community. We will not be bullied. We have to prove that there is no gain when the very structure of our society is challenged.”
Moreover, Maynard asserted that the “team will ensure that Chauncey did not die in vain.
“Other Bay Area media have covered the story and all work done on this story is important and continues to shed light on Bailey’s murder. We hope that our work contributes to understanding why Bailey was killed and addresses the broader ramifications of the story.”
The team effort promises to be the largest collective journalistic endeavor since the Arizona Project was formed 31 years ago in the aftermath of the murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles. “This is a unique collaboration and we hope our work goes beyond Bailey's murder and reveals broader issues that impact the lives of Oakland's citizens,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, who is helping coordinate the project and is the former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and former Managing Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Journalists from the following organizations are working on the project:
Bay Area Black Journalists Association
Bay Area News Group
Center for Investigative Reporting
Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.
KQED Public Radio
Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
National Association of Black Journalists
New America Media
New Voices in Independent Journalism
San Francisco State University Journalism Department
San Francisco Bay Guardian
San Jose State University School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Sigma Delta Chi Foundation
Society of Professional Journalists - Northern California Chapter
University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism
“I'm happy that the Oakland Tribune, and our Bay Area News Group partners the Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News, are involved in this noble effort and extremely pleased that the Tribune has been able to take a lead role,” said Pete Wevurski, managing editor, BANG-EB and executive editor for the Oakland Tribune. “Chauncey Bailey was a colleague and friend to many of us and we want to honor his work and our profession by picking up the standard that fell the morning he was assassinated. I'm extremely gratified by the numbers and caliber of journalists who have joined this coalition, and I'm astounded by the work they are turning in already.”
The project, said Wevurski, “is essential to Oakland and essential to us as journalists who wish to emphasize the point that you can kill the messenger, but the message is still going to get through. Based on that alone, I believe this will be the most important work any of us have ever done and ever will do.”