Clay Johnson argues for infoveganism at the Center for Civic Media. Photo Credit: Flickr user J. Nathan Matias.
Noteworthy journalism and media books by Knight partners keep coming. These two made me want to flash back to two previous blogs:
Killing the Messenger: Thomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group has written a story that cries out for a movie deal. It’s about “radical faith, racism’s backlash and the assassination of a journalist.” In vivid detail, Killing the Messenger gives you the big picture around the death of Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor shotgunned in 2007 on a street corner for investigating a troubled local business called Your Muslim Bakery. Bailey was the first journalist murdered for trying to do journalism in this country since Don Bolles was killed in 1976 by a car bomb for exposing mafia ties to Arizona land deals.
Peele tells the history of Black Muslims, leading you to Oakland where the movement became a cover for a violent cult run by Yusuf Bey, who beat and raped dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathered more than 40 children. Bey’s 21-year-old son, Yusuf Bey IV, took over the bakery after his father’s death. It was Bey IV who was convicted of masterminding the Bailey murder. Bey IV and an accomplice are looking at life without parole. The trigger man, who confessed, got 25 years.
Knight Foundation’s role was to grant the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education $125,000 to create the Chauncey Bailey project – so nonprofit, commercial and student journalists from all media could investigate the murder. Thomas Peele was an important member of that project.
Did the project matter? Said District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley: “I would especially like to recognize and acknowledge the Chauncey Bailey Project (which) worked diligently and tirelessly to ensure that the defendants responsible for these senseless murders were brought to justice." A public official speaks highly of journalists! Even so, you won’t find those words in Peele’s book. Like many good investigative reporters, he does not like to put himself into the story. I spoke about this issue at last year’s investigative reporting convention. My question: If investigative journalists don’t explain their impact, who will?