When Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr., editor of the Oakland Post newspaper, was gunned down August 2, apparently in retaliation for his investigative reporting, journalists throughout the region vowed to join together to continue his work.
The result, The Chauncey Bailey Project, has launched. It involves more than two dozen journalists reporting a series of stories on the activities of Your Black Muslim Bakery, which Bailey was investigating at the time of his death. A handyman for the bakery originally cofessed to Bailey’s murder, though he later recanted and implicated the bakery CEO.
One of the project’s first stories pursues the question: “Did cops drag feet on bakery probe?” It reveals that police had clues linking members of the bakery to the torture of a woman in East Oakland nearly three months before they raided the bakery and arrested its leaders. The raid came one day after Bailey was shot.
The unusual collaboration of journalists on this investigation recalls the Arizona Project, which formed in response to the 1976 murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles. Reporters from around the country descended on Arizona to investigate organized crime.
Both the Arizona and Chauncey Bailey projects show that killing a reporter won’t stop the press.