Editor & Publisher reports that San Francisco Bay Area journalists have banded together to pursue investigations by Chauncey Bailey. The Oakland Post editor was murdered August 2 while investigating activities of the Your Black Muslim Bakery and the Bey family members who operated the bakery for the past 20 years.
The collaboration is reminiscent of the 1976 "Arizona Project," formed in 1976 following the murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles. Bolles, killed by a bomb placed under his car, had been investigating links between organized criminals and Phoenix businessmen. Some 38 journalists from 28 newspapers and television stations participated in the Arizona Project. More than two dozen San Francisco Bay Area journalists are participating in the Chaucey Bailey Project.
"We cannot stand for a reporter to be murdered while working on behalf of the public," said Dori J. Maynard, president and CEO of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. "Chauncey's death is a threat to democracy. Journalists will not be intimidated. This type of crime cast a chilling affect over our community. We will not be bullied. We have to prove that there is no gain and hell to pay, when the very structure of our society is challenged."
Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at the bakery, has confessed to Bailey's murder. But questions about motive for the slaying remain. Project editorial coordinator Robert J. Rosenthal said the print, broadcast and new media journalists will investigate past and current activities of the family empire.
"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 Rosenthal, former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Among those participating in the Chauncey Bailey Project are journalists from the Bay Area Black Journalists Association; the Bay Area News Group; the Center for Investigative Reporting; Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.; KGO-AM; KPIX-TV; KQED Public Radio and KTVU-TV. Other participants include journalists from the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education; the National Association of Black Journalists; New America Media; New Voices in Independent Journalism; San Francisco State University Journalism Department and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Also taking part in the investigative series are journalists from San Jose State University Journalism Department; Sigma Delta Chi of the National Society of Professional Journalists; the Society of Professional Journalists - Northern California Chapter and the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.
Pete Wevurski, executive editor for the Oakland Tribune, said the project "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."