The Chauncey Bailey Project was supposed to be a unified effort by Bay Area journalists to investigate the murder of Bailey, the editor of a black newspaper who was gunned down on an Oakland street Aug. 2 allegedly by the handman for Your Black Muslim Bakery. But, as Will Harper of the SF Weekly reports, the region’s biggest newspaper, the Chronicle, has decided it won’t participate in the project, and two newspapers, the SF Weekly and East Bay Express, weren’t invited to join the effort before it was announced.
The Chron’s reason for not joining the effort was that it was already working on its own investigation before the project was announced. “Competition is good for getting to the truth,” Stephen Proctor, the Chron’s deputy managing editor for news, tells Harper. Ironically, the project is headed by Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal, who resigned earlier this year as the Chron’s No. 2 editor without giving two week’s notice.
The East Bay Express wasn’t invited to participate even though it had reported on the dealings of the Bakery’s founder, the late Yusuf Bey, five years ago. The reporter of those stories, Chris Thompson, had to go into hiding for a while after receiving death threats.
Express editor Stephen Buel said that one of the news outlets in the Bailey Project had a beef with his paper, but the Project’s Sandy Close insisted that not inviting EBX was an oversight.
Harper notes that the Bailey Project was modeled after the Arizona Project, in which journalists from across the country descended upon Phoenix in 1976 after Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles was killed by a car bomb while investigating the Mafia. Harper notes that the Arizona Project wound up being fraught with professional discord, too, and the Republic refused to print its stories citing libel concerns.