Chauncey Bailey Project

Commentary: Bailey killing looks like hundreds of others



“The brazen daylight murder of Chauncey Bailey may seem like an aberration because it happened in the United States,” Frank Smyth, journalist security coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote Wednesday for the committee. “But his case looks a lot like the hundreds of other journalist slayings that have occurred around the world in the past 15 years. Much like Bailey, most journalists killed on the job are local reporters digging into corruption and crime. Bailey was by all accounts fearless in pursuing such stories.

“‘Chauncey didn’t believe in alluding to anything,’ his publisher, Paul Cobb, told CPJ in an interview at the offices of the Oakland Post. ‘He went right to it.’

“Moreover, the murder of a journalist in the United States, though rare over the past decade, is not as unusual as one might think. (Two U.S. journalists were among those who died while on duty in 2001: one in the World Trade Center attacks and the other in an anthrax attack.) Between 1976 and 1993, 12 journalists were assassinated in the United States. Ten out of the 12 were immigrant journalists reporting in their first language (Vietnamese, French, Chinese, or Spanish) to immigrant communities, and all but a few of those murders remain unsolved.”

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