The University of Georgia has announced that four reporters associated with the Chauncey Bailey Project — Thomas Peele, Josh Richman, Mary Fricker and Bob Butler — will receive the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. A news release says:
- “Peele, Richman, Fricker and Butler’s reporting was truly courageous,” wrote Oakland Tribune editor Martin G. Reynolds in his nomination. “A reporter was killed and they continued and expanded his work despite obvious dangers.”
The reporter was Chauncey Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, who was murdered in
2007 while investigating black Muslims and their Your Black Muslim Bakery,
headquartered in Oakland, Calif. The man charged with Bailey’s killing told a court he was ordered by the group’s leader to murder Bailey “to stop this story.”
The four reporters wrote more than 100 stories about the group, the murder, and the
police investigation. Reynolds wrote, “Their reportage forced the indictment of the
group’s leader on murder changes for ordering the assassination.”
Peele and Richman are reporters for The Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group. Peele
is an investigative reporter whose work focuses on government malfeasance and
corruption. A 25-year veteran of newspapers on both coasts, Peele has won four national reporting awards. Richman covers state and federal politics. He reported for the Express-Times in Easton, Pa. for five years before joining the Oakland Tribune in 1997.
Fricker and Butler are independent reporters. Fricker retired in 2006 from the Press
Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., where she covered business. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans.”
Butler’s career in broadcast journalism began in 1981 when he was hired by KCBS in
San Francisco. He has reported about economics, politics and disasters throughout the U.S. and from Brazil, Europe, Namibia, Tanzania and Senegal.
The medal will be presented to the four on March 24, at the University’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.