Sometimes the most dangerous stories are the small ones: Local stories on ethnic minorities that get little coverage in the mainstream media.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit “dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide,” 11 of the 13 journalists murdered in the United States since 1976 were killed in apparent retaliation for their reporting on ethnic minorities.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle points out that three of those murders happened in the Bay Area. The most recent being the murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, who was reporting on the scandals and financial problems at Your Black Muslim Bakery, “a black-owned business and self-empowerment group.” Bailey was gunned down in the street in Oakland on August 2, 2007.

From the Chronicle story:

“It’s exactly that kind of person who covers the local community in a grassroots level who is most vulnerable to these kinds of attacks,” said Abi Wright, a spokesperson for the [Committee to Protect Journalists]. She said writers are more at risk than broadcasters. “It’s not the leading guy for the leading newspaper in the country. It’s the guy who’s covering his local community … they’re closer to the story. They don’t have the institutional protections from a larger news organization.”

According to the article, the other two Bay Area murders were:

  • Lam Trong Duong, who had written stories in a Vietnamese language newsletter supportive of the communist government of Vietnam, was shot in 1981 near his apartment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. A group of anti-communist Vietnamese claimed responsibility for the slaying.
  • Henry Liu, author of a Chinese-language book accusing Taiwanese officials of corruption, was killed in 1984 in his Daly City home by hit men hired by the Taiwanese government.
  • >> Read “Grassroots ethnic reporting a perilous calling” on SFGate.com.

    >> Read CPJ’s report about journalists killed worldwide in 2007.

    Carrie Ching

    Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by NPR.org, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist, Time.com, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour, Salon.com, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.