Chauncey Bailey Project

Chauncey Bailey wins Polk Award

Slain journalist Chauncey Bailey, left, and his alleged assailant, Devaughndre Broussard, right, flanking Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.
Slain journalist Chauncey Bailey, left, and his alleged assailant, Devaughndre Broussard, right, flanking Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.

By Josh Richman, Bay Area News Group

Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor gunned down in Oakland last year while probing Your Black Muslim Bakery’s activities and finances, posthumously has received one of journalism’s most prestigious awards. Long Island University has announced that Bailey, who was 57 when he died, is this year’s recipient of the George Polk Award for Local Reporting.

“Bailey was gunned down on Aug. 2, 2007, while in the midst of investigating a local business, Your Black Muslim Bakery, which has been linked to kidnapping, rape, torture and several killings, now including Bailey’s,” the university’s news release said. “According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the slaying was the first alleged targeted killing of a journalist in the United States since 1993.

“In a career spanning more than 30 years, Bailey earned a reputation as a tireless, hard-nosed journalist who was dedicated to addressing the concerns of black communities in California’s Bay Area,” the release said.

Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb said the award is deserved “because Chauncey is now universally known as one of the hardest-working journalists … because of the sheer volume of the work he produced, the fact that he was writing for three or four newspapers at the same time while producing his own television show and writing a movie. … He lived and breathed journalism.

“Ironically he was killed for a story he never wrote, and he’s now being honored for the stories he did write,” Cobb said.

One day after Bailey’s slaying, Oakland Police arrested Devaughndre Broussard during a previously planned raid of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Police said the bakery handyman confessed to the slaying, saying he’d tried to be “a good soldier” for the bakery who both was angry about articles Bailey had written about the bakery in the past and was concerned about stories he thought Bailey might have been working on that summer.

Broussard, now 20, since has recanted his confession; his lawyer said it was coerced by police and by bakery CEO Yusuf Ali Bey IV, 22.

The Polk Awards, administered by the university since 1949 and widely considered to be among journalism’s most coveted honors, memorialize CBS correspondent George Polk, slain while covering Greece’s civil war in 1948. They’re awarded each year in several categories by medium and subject area; a committee of jurors comprised of faculty members and alumni pick the winners from entries submitted by independent journalists, news organizations and a formal panel of media professionals including several former Polk winners.

The award will be formally presented at a luncheon April 17 in New York City. More information about the Polk Awards is available at http://www.brooklyn.liu.edu/polk/press/

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