Chauncey Bailey Project

Who killed Chauncey Bailey?

On the eve of the first anniversary of Chauncey Bailey’s murder, Reporters Without Borders is very disappointed that the investigation has not made any progress,” the international press freedom group on Friday. “Instead, the case has become more complicated as aspects surrounding the motives for Bailey’s murder have been unleashed.

“Evidence, some recorded by the police and some uncovered by investigative reporters, points at someone other than the currently accused defendant as a potential perpetrator(s) and/or mastermind(s) of the crime, and suggests that local police officials may be protecting those responsible for Mr. Bailey’s death. Reporters Without Borders also disapproves of Oakland Police Chief [Wayne] Tucker and Deputy Chief Howard A. Jordan’s unwillingness to talk to the media.

The press freedom organization is launching a petition calling for “Justice for Chauncey Bailey” and urging the U.S. attorney general to take the lead in the case.

” . . . On August 2nd, 2007, Bailey, the late editor for the Oakland Post, was walking to work when he was gunned down by a masked man in downtown Oakland.

“The day after, the police department raided the facility of Your Black Muslim Bakery, suspecting some of its employees were involved in the killing, as well as other unrelated felonies. A group of young men who worked at the Bakery and were adopted by Yusuf Bey, the founder of the bakery, were already well-known because of involvement in previous crimes, ranging from vandalism to kidnapping. The leader of this particular group of young men was Yusuf Bey IV, of the Bey family.

“Bey IV and others were apprehended that night. Devaughndre Broussard, the youngest and newest member of the Bakery employees, confessed to killing Bailey, after an unrecorded conversation with Bey IV without the presence of an officer. Broussard later recanted and his lawyer, LeRue Grim, stated his client’s confession was coerced.

“As of Friday, 1, August, Broussard was scheduled to begin his trial on 19 September 2008 at 9:00 a.m. No one else has been charged even as an indirect participant.””

“Chauncey Bailey was killed because of his work as a journalist,” added the organization. “Murders of reporters are rare in the United States. In informing people and denouncing public wrongdoings, the news media play an important role in the checks and balances that are essential to any democracy. The justice system has to send a strong signal to those who would silence the media, and show them that impunity will not prevail. We call upon press freedom supporters to sign the petition to show public support for a swift resolution of the murder”.

Chauncey Bailey Project Hits Funding Snag

“More than 24 Bay Area journalists from competing news outlets joined forces to complete the fallen editor’s story,” Sherry Ricchiardi writes of Chauncey Bailey and the Chauncey Bailey Project for the August/September issue of American Journalism Review.

“Area media groups and journalism schools participated in the effort as well.

“It’s the biggest journalistic show of force since 1976, when reporter Don Bolles‘ car was blown up by a bomb while he was investigating organized crime in Phoenix. Journalists from all over the country gathered to continue Bolles’ work under the banner of the Arizona Project.

“During the past 10 months, media professionals in the Bay Area have taken collaborative journalism to new heights as they produced more than 140 stories related to Your Black Muslim Bakery and Bailey’s assassination. They also have posted numerous multimedia packages on their Web sites.

But, the story says, “In June, the project hit a snag. The $145,000 budget, much of it provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was running out.” Dori J. Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and Sandy Close, director of the San Francisco-based New America Media, a national network of about 2,800 ethnic media organizations, embarked on a hunt for additional funding. Bailey was an alumnus of the Maynard Institute.

“‘I think there are possibly some foundations that could help,’ says Close, who delivered a eulogy at Bailey’s funeral.”

Bob Butler
Bob Butler

Robert J. Rosenthal, the executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting who came to head the Bailey project, “says the project will continue, but it could lose people and momentum without additional funding.” Freelancers such as Bob Butler, “a crucial contributor, no longer are being paid. ‘People like Bob will have to pick up other part-time work if we can’t pay them,’ Rosenthal says. ‘It also means our Web site could be curtailed or slowed.’

“The project faces another painful reality: Some of the participating news outlets have experienced severe job cuts in recent weeks, which could limit their ability to lend reporters to the project. ‘This story would not have been peeled back as much as it has without this alliance,’ Rosenthal says. ‘It is crucial.'”

As reported in this space, the idea for the project originated with freelance journalist Kenneth Cooper, former national editor of the Boston Globe and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, who proposed the investigative alliance on Aug. 7, 2007, on the Journal-isms message board. Then-NABJ President Bryan Monroe announced the collaboration two days later at the NABJ convention in Las Vegas.



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