Chauncey Bailey Project

Commentary: Chauncey Bailey a believer in community television

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“Slain journalist Chauncey Bailey was a crusading reporter who lost his life for working on a story that would have exposed the shady business and criminal practices at Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, California,” Kristal Brent Zook writes in a “Web only special”¬†of Columbia Journalism Review.

“Gunned down in the streets in broad daylight, by a killer who was not much older than his own thirteen-year-old son, Bailey has been remembered in eulogies in recent weeks for his dedication to the local black Bay Area community.

“But what is not as well-known is the fact that Bailey did not believe journalism was the terrain of the few, elite ranks. He believed in community access to media. And he believed in cable television as the means to achieve that end. And so, armed with letters of recommendation from the Oakland mayor and from members of the city council, he spent many months meeting with Comcast executives and with potential investors, arguing for the importance of local African-American programming in Oakland.

“The result of this work was OUR TV, or ‘Opportunities in Urban Renaissance,’ a small leased-access cable channel that Bailey launched, together with his partner and financier, Leonard Stephens, in December of 2004. Channel 78, which is on the air from 6 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, reaches over 150,000 homes in the predominantly black areas of Oakland, Piedmont, and Emeryville, and is growing.”

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