Local media form the Chauncey Bailey Project

Pub date October 10, 2007

When journalist Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr. was murdered Aug. 2, questions arose as to who could have committed such an act, in broad daylight, and what could have motivated the killing. Shortly after the slaying, police arrested Your Black Muslim Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard, 19, and charged him with the crime. But deep questions remain, starting with who really called the shots in the killing — and what they were trying to cover up.

In an effort to pick up where Bailey left off, a rare coalition of media rivals and scholastic colleagues — more than two dozen reporters, photographers, and editors from print, broadcast, and electronic media — have formed the Chauncey Bailey Project, an investigative team that will continue and expand on the reporting Bailey was pursuing at the time of his death.

"We as an industry cannot stand for a member of the press to be gunned down in the course of doing his job. That’s a threat to democracy; that’s a threat to journalism," said Dori J. Maynard, president and chief executive officer of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Although several local media outlets have reported on the circumstances that may have led to Bailey’s death and his connection to Your Black Muslim Bakery, this project will delve deeper into his investigative work prior to his death.

The project promises to be the largest communal journalistic endeavor since the Arizona Project was formed 31 years ago in the aftermath of the murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles. The Guardian is committing the efforts of award-winning reporter G.W. Schulz and other resources to the project. Our media partners include the Bay Area Black Journalists Association, Bay Area News Group (including the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and San Jose Mercury News), Center for Investigative Reporting, KGO-AM, KQED Public Radio, KTVU-TV, KPIX-TV, Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, National Association of Black Journalists, New America Media, New Voices in Independent Journalism, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, San Francisco State University Journalism Department, San Jose State University Journalism Department, and Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter).

"This 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," said Pete Wevurski, executive editor of the Oakland Tribune.

The first stories from the Chauncey Bailey Project will be available at www.sfbg.com. For more information about the project and its collaborators, contact the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education at (510) 891-9202.