Sunday, August 05, 2007
A few days ago, Chauncey Bailey, a long-time SF Bay area print news professional and editor of the Oakland Post, was gunned down in broad daylight on an Oakland street. The police have since arrested the alleged gunman, who worked at a north Oakland Black Muslim bakery, an organization whose criminal activities had attracted the journalistic attention of Bailey.
Many others have, and will continue to write about the career of Bailey. As with anyone in the public spotlight, there will be various views on his professional work. He was not above ‘breaking a few eggs’ to get the stories that he thought needed public viewing – not an uncommon trait of good investigative journalism.
A few months back, I had the pleasure of meeting Bailey under an unusual arrangement, but one that spoke to his professionalism. A reporter from the very left-of-center East Bay Express, Will Harper, showed up at our company offices to interview our CEO. Calling himself ‘the bottom-feeder’, his reputation told us to expect the worse, whether he got his interview or not.
But fortunate for us, Bailey also sat in on the interview, as did I. He was there to encourage a fair and honest representation of the dialogue. He accomplished that, as much as possible, with people who equate journalism with bottom feeding. In the end there was nothing to investigate, but it was Chauncey who was key to upholding a higher standard of journalism.
May he rest in peace.
James C. Collier
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