Teaching Notes

You must become the flame on the candle. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Courage Under Fire

Who is Chauncey Bailey and what is his significance to media ethics? Or, to put it another way, is it better to die on your feet (as a journalist? a person?) than to live on your knees?

43 comments:

Alison said...

Chauncey Bailey was the head editor of the Post in Oakland, California. He was one of black America's most successful journalists, and was in the process of writing a story to expose the Bakery as a hub for street gangs. It is because of this article he was writing that he was murdered in broad daylight. Mystery still surrounds his death, whether or not the confession to the murder was really by the right person. Either way, it is terrible that he was murdered, but it is also honorable, because he died trying to report the truth, instead of giving up on the story. Even when receiving death threats, Bailey still continued to research his story. He would not give up. I think it is better to die doing something that is worth while then to die in vain. It's the same thing they say about soldiers, that it is better to die in battle fighting for their country then to do nothing.

Omari said...

Chauncey Bailey was the editor of the Oakland Post and was a former reporter for the Oakland Tribune. He was known for his bluntness when it comes to the news. He was murdered while he was collecting information to write a story about "Black Muslim Bakery" and their relation to criminal activity with gangs. Bailey had the opportunity to mind his business and let whatever was going on be kept within the ears of those who knew, but he felt others (the public) needed to know as well. Bailey, believe it or not, was not only a great reporter for wanting to report the truth and risking his life, but he reminded me of many leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in his determination to fight for the right thing no matter how many death threats he may have recieved, so it is better to die on your feet because he took a job where his goal was to report the truth, and he felt people needed to know. Rather be a dead hero than a live chicken.

Lyndsey said...

Chauncey Bailey was the editor of the Oakland Post. He was a very successful black journalist who pretty much was willing to do whatever it took to get a story, which in this case, meant putting his life on the line. Bailey was involved in investigating a case surrounding the Black Muslim Bakery. He dug into their finances and reputation for violence in order to get the facts and properly report the news. In this case, Bailey died on his feet, at least as a journalist, because he never gave up on the case, even when he knew he could potentially be in a dangerous situation. His job was to report the news, and he took it one step further to investigate the entire case to its fullest in order to deliver the story to the readers. I believe that the way he died was honorable and he died trying to shed light on something that no one else had knowledge about.

Marissa said...

Chauncey Bailey was one of the most influential Black journalist's in America. He was also the editor of the Oakland Post. His goal in life was to report the truth at all costs; and that is exactly what he did. While in the midst of reporting a story about "Your Black Muslim Bakery", a powerful and violent street gang, he was shot dead in broad daylight on his way to work. Chauncey continued reporting on the gang (and it was said police corruption) even after receiving death threats. It is a tragedy that he died so young, but he died fighting for what he believed was right. Because of his information, and partly because of his death the Bakery was broken up and the community was saved from itself evil grasp. Bailey will live on as a man who died on his feet trying to improve the community he was in, rather than living on his knees and watching Oakland fall further into gangland.

Anonymous said...

Chauncey Bailey was a California reporter/editor that was threatened and robbed of his life for a story he had been working on-- concerning the pending bankruptcy of Your Black Muslim Bakery. He was gunned down and killed instantly by a masked gunman while on his way to work—in broad daylight. Many of the articles I read about Chauncey Bailey stated that he was a “passionate journalist.” He was a journalist during his working hours, and a family man outside of work. But when it came to his job, he did what he felt was necessary. He was a voice for the people and he wanted the best for the African American community—meaning he would do whatever it took to get the violence out of the community. As far as ethics, he would seek truth and report it, but he did harm when it came to the people of the Your Black Muslim Bakery; he was going to expose them, and they didn’t like or appreciate that. That definitely does not give reason for his death. When it comes to situations where a life is threatened, the rest would usually be up to authorities- but not with Bailey. I definitely believe it is better to live on your feet, than to die on your knees, because when you live on your feet, it means you stand for something. When you stand for something, you can walk with your head up and be full of pride. It’s the way life is supposed to be lived--to know what you want and how you’re going to get it. That’s how Bailey felt with his work.His work ethics also made him very successful. When you die on your knees, you’re known as that person who would fall for anything, a person with no standards, no pride, no hope, and no passion.

Ericka said...

Chauncey Bailey was the editor in chief of the Oakland Post. He was an inspiring Black journalist who's life was taken because of a story he was working on. He was investigating the financial situation of Your Black Muslim Bakery and how it might have had to file for bankruptcy and its connections with local gangs. I feel that Bailey did everything in his power to value his job by reporting the truth, which in turn, cost him his life. He stands as an honorable man not only in the community of journalists but also to the readers. He took what meant most to him and decided to share it with the readers because he felt they needed to know.

chloe said...

Chauncey Bailey was an editor at the Oakland Post in the summer of 2007 when he was shot and killed at 7:30 a.m. by a masked gunman later identified as Devaughndre Broussard, a former employee at Your Black Muslim Bakery where Bailey was involved in a journalistic investigation regarding gang activity in the Bay Area of California. Bailey’s reputable journalistic career sprouted from much of his work in uncovering violent gang run businesses of Oakland, California. In 2002 Bailey published an article about Your Black Muslim Bakery and accused the bakery of a lewd acts, petty violence, rape, and murder. Bailey was aware of the activity going on at that bakery, he chose to continue his investigation, he chose to publish the accusations, and when he walked out of his house he was shot and killed. Should he have expected it? Only Bailey knows that. The question really seems to be; was it worth publishing? Was the fact that Your Black Muslim Bakery was a gang spot so important for the public to know? “Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy,” is the suggestion from the SPJ code of ethics. In Bailey’s case, the information he had uncovered about the activities going down at the bakery are of some importance and urgency, but the investigations that could have followed, like the investigations Bailey was working on regarding the local police, was icing on the cake for the publics right and need to know. Only Bailey could have decided whether publishing this information was worth dieing for, but his pursuit to uncovering valuable truth should be respected and continued.

AllisonC said...

As an editor and reporter for the Oakland Post Chauncey Bailey became somewhat of a martyr after his brutal killing. He was a motivator and a prime example of how change is possible. To die for a cause that you believe in is one of the noblest things a journalist can do. His need to turn the Bakery upside down and what others report to be a lack of fear just points out his strength and courage. The fact that he was murdered is worse than tragic because it is only possible to wonder what his other plans for cleaning up Oakland were. Some speculate that he was working on police corruption which would have been an amazing break through and possibly could have brought the city to a more respectable place. In cases where a journalist dies for a cause it is hard to pick whether it was "worth it" or not, and the only person who can really make that decision is the one doing the reporting. So would Chauncey go back and do it all again? From what I read, his drive and need to help the poor resident of Oakland and to stop the crime and murders was too overpowering for him to ignore. Considering the statement, is it better to die on standing than on your knees, I think anyone would claim to be honorable and stand; but I think it takes a truly great person to live by those values and Chauncey Bailey did just that.

bexis said...

He was the editor-in-chief of the Post of Oakland. He also worked as a reporter for the Detroit News and the Oakland Tribune. He was known for his work concerning the African American community. He is described as an enthusiastic journalist, with high work ethics. He was doing an investigation on the finances and criminal doings at “Your Black Muslim Bakery.” In the process of investigating this story he received many life threats. However, he was a fierce journalist, in his feet, who didn’t allow himself to be intimidated. He was assassinated on August 2, 2007 by Broussard a worker of the bakery; because they didn’t want their frauds to be made public. He died because he was doing his job as journalist “seeking the truth.” If you are committed to your duties then you will die on your feet. I would rather die for something meaningful than subsist with a guilty conscience, that I didn’t pursuit my obligations.

Ben said...

Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr. (1949-2007) was an American journalist who frequently covered stories of the African-American community during his 35 years as a journalist. He wrote first for the Oakland Post and the San Francisco Sun Reporter. In 1970 he started at the Hartford Courant in Connecticut, and after eight years returned to Oakland to write for the California Voice. He then worked as a press secretary for US Representative Gus Savage in Washington D.C. for a year. In 1982 he worked for the Detroit News until 1993 when he went to the Oakland Tribune until 2005. In 2005 he began writing freelance stories for the Oakland Post, which served the Oakland, Berkley, Richmond and San Francisco areas. That same year the leaders of the Your Black Muslim Bakery were overthrow through forgery and fraud by the younger family heirs of the company. New owner, Antar Bey, mortgaged the property to cover debts and back taxes, but then defaulted which would have led to foreclosure. Bailey had written a story about the fraudulent business of the bakery owners and their financial problems with information from inside informant, later revealed as Ali Saleem Bey, but was unable to publish the story. Bailey saw an injustice in the way the Bey family was dealing with business and running their own family out of town with death threats, and would not stop pursuing his stories, even with threats on his own life. He was killed with a shotgun in broad day light on his was to work on August 2, 2007. The reason for his killing was the ensuing articles Bailey had been writing about the bakery and its personnel. At 56 years of age Bailey was still unbending to what he saw as an injustice and more or less a good story. He may not have been directly inhibited by the bakery's conduct, but other members of the owner's family and members of the community were; Bailey's actions were noble, but not worth his life. At the end of the day you can always get bread at another bakery.

Leah said...

Chauncey Bailey was editor of the Oakland Post, in California. He was a tremendously successful black journalist in America. He was hardworking and dedicated to his job as a journalist. Bailey risked his life on the job and went from all ends of the earth to collect information (the right way). He worked over 30 years covering stories that related to the lives of minorities. While investigating a controversial story about a Black/Muslim Bakery, Bailey was murdered. Regardless of the fact that he knew he was risking his life, he stayed loyal to his work because he wanted the people around him to be aware of what was going on. He fought for what was ethical in his eyes. In the big picture, that was was mattered to Chauncey Bailey. For Bailey, and in general I would say it is infinitely better to die on your feet, because that is what he did. He was killed doing what he felt was right. He was stable in his work, headed in the direction for the good of all citizens, and he was killed doing what he loved. Now, his tale lives on in history, and proves to others that they can stand up for what they feel is right, without being scared. That is an honorable and heroic act.

pierce said...

Bailey was the editor of the Post in Oakland, CA. He was investigating Your Black Muslim Bakery as a possible front for street gang activity and was killed after the bakery was exposed and had to file for bankruptcy.

It is better to die on your feet for thwta you believe in than to just give in and take everything at face value. Especially as journalists, it is our job to being the watchdogs or corruption in all of it's forms.

Sean H. said...

Chauncey Bailey was a journalist who worked as the editor of the Oakland Post. He was celebrated for his work on issues that mainly concerned the African American community. He was assassinated for a piece he was working on about The Black Muslim Bakery and the gang activity, which surrounded it. He was a very courageous man and was devoted to digging up the truth at any cost. I feel as it is good to have the same mentality as Chauncey Bailey rather the playing it safe and always taking the easy way out. A journalist’s main goal is to seek truth and report it and it is impossible to do so if you are timid in your approache What happened to Chauncey Bailey is a tragedy, but judging on the impression I have gathered from him I feel as if he wouldn't have had a single regret.

Julie said...

Chauncey Bailey was the editor of the Oakland Post, and a very successful journalist. His article is what caused him to be shot in broad daylight. I think that while his death is very tragic, it is completely honorable. He was doing something that he believed in, seeking truth while working on that story. I think that being an honorable person, and knowing that your job is done right is a big accomplishment in the journalism world. I think that any serious journalist should always be willing to go that extra mile to make sure their story has everything it needs, providing the people with the entire truth. Risks may run alongside this process, but in the end it is worth it. I think that this is proven by Bailey. It is always better to die on your feet knowing you did everything that you needed to do, than to play it safe and live on your knees. There is no passion and love for journalism if one always does the minimal amount by playing it safe.

Kim A said...

Chauncey Bailey was an outspoken and assertive editor, journalist and reporter who was fatally shot for investigating a story on a muslim gang who performed illegal business through Your Muslim Bakery, a bakery in Oakland, California. Ironically, he was a black man who was killed in the very place where he, the Black Panthers and other black nationalistic and radical organizations were born. At a point in his life he even pondered about whether he should become a journalist or a black panther.

To see an advocate, a writer and a voice of the Black community slain by a member of his own community shows how painfully we are moving backwards as opposed to moving forward as a people who struggled and fought for equal rights in this country. It is also sad to see that journalists have to fear their lives over writing stories and reporting the truth. Bailey has been characterized, by many of those who knew him as a valiant and controversial writer which leads me to believe that he much rathered to "die on his feet than to live on his knees." It is unfortunate though that sometimes being ethical can mean putting things on the line such as your position, career and in this case your life.

Cisca said...

Chauncey Bailey was an American journalist (Oakland Post, Detroit News, Soul Beat Television) who focused on issues dealing with the African American community and who passed away in 2007 in connection to his investigative reporting on the finances and suspected criminal activities of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Now, Baliey did a lot for not only the African American community but the journalism one as well. He, however, like other journalists, faced several ethical dilemmas throughout his career and it’s debatable whether he made correct choices or in the end, paid the ultimate price. For instance, using his job/position for personal means. In the case, of the bakery, he supposedly let it slip who his anonymous source was to someone outside the news team. That may have played a part in his death. I’d have to say that it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. It takes some courage to persist with something that is leading you towards danger for the sake of uncovering or telling the truth. In respect with Bailey, he persisted with the story of the bakery and didn’t turn away from the problems that he saw and felt should be reported on.

John said...

Chauncey Bailey was an african american journalist who wrote for 5 papers in the San Francisco area. he was shot and killed for the story about the bakery going bankrupt he was writing. Bailey died for trying to report the truth as a journalist should which should be considered by other journalists better than living life reporting lies. What he did is incredibly heroic and should admired by all journalists.

Emily said...

Chauncey Bailey was a journalist in Oakland, California who was murdered because of his involvement in a local story dealing with the bankruptcy and gang involvement at Your Black Muslim Bakery. Bailey was murdered because of the information he had found out and was going to present those truths to the public. As a journalist he was doing a noble thing, delving into a subject that involved a certain amount of danger and risk. This being said, he definitely died on his feet--he died trying to make a difference and trying to reveal a serious problem. I think it is horrible that a journalist simply doing their job can cause such harm, but I think it is good that he was upholding his ethical duties as a journalist. We remember him now because he died trying to do good and because he died for a just cause.

Maria said...

Chauncey Bailey was the head editor of the Post in Oakland, California who was murdered while working on a story involving Your Black Muslim Bakery and its connection to gang activity and financial issues. Bailey was known for his aggressive questioning of officials and his refusal to back down. Bailey is an advent journalist, putting the right of others to know before his personal life. He died a journalistic hero. Bailey stood up for the rights of the public.
In any matter is it always better to die ion your feet fighting for what is right than to die on your knees in search of someone's acceptance/ approval.

Alyssa said...

Chauncey Bailey was a black journalist who was well known for his work as a reporter for the Oakland Tribune. He was in the midst of investigating/writing a story about a Bakery and its relationship to gang activity, when he was murdered. While it is obviously horrible that he was murdered in the line of "duty", he died an honorable death for a good cause. Some might say that there is only so far one should go to get a story, but like any other profession, journalists want to do their job to the best of their ability and expose the truth, sometimes at cost to themselves. Bailey died trying to expose a truth and story that he felt was important to tell the public about. I would rather die knowing that I had done something for a good cause that could benefit the public than to die in vain. I believe that in order to be a true and honorable journalist you must have passion for what you do. Dying because of this passion solidifies Bailey as a true journalist and many should take their cue from him.

Raizza said...

Chauncey Bailey was an Oakland Post editor that was gunned down during daylight in downtown Oakland Street on August 2, 2007. This was the day he was about to investigate and expose "Your Black Muslim Bakery", whom he suspects of its business financial trouble and also its association with street gangs. Bailey was a prominent and outspoken journalist in the African American community. His colleagues said he'll be missed because of his bravery of reporting the truth. Bailey knew he needed to investigate and run this story for the public to know. He's also addressed African American issues concerning AIDs in the black community and minority college enrollment. Later in the news, Broussard, 19, confessed to the killing of Bailey.

steven said...

Chauncey Bailey was an American journalist who worked heavily in the black community. Before his death, he served as editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Post. He had been working on a story pertaining to street gangs, which led to his murder. He is seen as a sort of journalistic martyr, dying in the process of uncovering the truth and reporting it to the public. He was committed to his story and to his ideals behind it. I believe it is honorable to die while working for the truth, than to go through life simply do tasks halfway or deceitfully.

michelle said...

Chauncey Bailey, in this article, is considered one of black America’s most successful journalists as he was also the editor of the Oakland Post. Bailey was extremely dedicated to journalism and the beauty of uncovering and delivering. Bailey stood up for the importance of journalism by risking everything he had, including his life, to ensure his epistemic responsibility. As he investigated potentially two stories in particularly, the Bakery and corruption within Oakland police, Bailey’s well being became extremely vulnerable to threats and the risk of actually being attacked. It is safer to live on your knees, but is it honorable to live on your feet. Bailey never stumbled and literally lived to reveal the truth.

Will said...

Chauncy Bailey was the head of the Post in Oakland, California. He investigated a Black Muslim Bakery and by doing so put his life in danger. He was a very respectable journalists and died because he was trying to write a story exposing this bakery. He investigated this story in depth, including finances and crimes. In respects to being a journalist and dying from investigating a story, I feel that this a very honorable way to die because it means that your work actually has importance if someone wants to kill you over it. I think that in any profession if someone wants to kill you for your work, work that may expose a dangerous situation or improve peoples lives, then that work is worth doing.

Samm said...

Chauncey Bailey was a journalist, in fact an editor in California. Bailey started writing articles about gangs and was killed because of the topic he wrote about. The most shocking part about this story was the fact that he was killed in broad daylight while on his way to work. This man was trying to make the world a better and safer place and was killed because of it. I think that he died with honor because he was standing up for what he believed in and was trying to make a difference in the world. He died for a purpose and not because he did something foolish with no meaning to it.

Kaitlyn said...

Chauncey Bailey was an editor for the Post located in Oakland, California. He is known to be one of the most influential and successful African American journalists. He often was described as "outspoken" and "controversial" and reported on corruption. He was tragically murdered one morning walking to work in broad daylight. It is said that this had to do with the story he had currently been working on about "Your Black Muslim Bakery," and their connection to gang activity and bankruptcy. Despite the many threats Chauncey had recieved prior to his assasination, he never stopped doing what he loved. He just brushed everything off and continued doing what he could to reveal the truth. It is certainly better to "die on your feet" because you are dying while standing up for something you are passionate about. If you are going to go down, you mind as well go down doing something you love.

Jenn M said...

Chauncey Bailey was an African-American journalist and editor of the Oakland post and editor-in-chief of all five Post weeklies. He was well- known for his work on issues of the African-American community. He was also killed because of his work on a story about Black Muslim Bakery and its bankruptcy. This raises thoughts to the question is it better to die on your feet that to live on you knees. Bailey died on his feet getting the story and trying to reveal the truth to the public, which is a journalist’s job. I do believe it is better to live with risks in order to do the right thing, but is it necessarily worth dying for? Would Bailey have continued to investigate the situation if he had known he would be killed? It is good to do what you believe is right even if it means taking risks rather than living life in the safe zone. I’m just not sure where the line is drawn, I think my thoughts go back to what we spoke about in class, how we are taught growing up to stay in the safe zone and don’t do anything that will “ruin” your life, we are taught not to take the risk of doing something even if the outcome could be great, like a great story or a promotion because it could also turn out negatively.

Ian said...

I've decided that explaining who Bailey is now is ridiculous. Everyone else before me already has.

But as a journalist and editor, the man risked and lost his life to reveal the atrocities committed by a extremist group in Oakland. His sacrifice did not go unheeded, as his death and article brought their actions to light.

A man of conviction such as Chauncey Bailey should be an inspiration for journalists today.
A journalist's job is to report the truth, no matter the risk to their own well being. Chauncey Bailey exemplified that, as did the journalist who died of a car-bombing as mentioned in the e-mail you sent us.

Those who are trying to silence the truth cannot, as long as brave men and women stay courageous.

Yanna said...

Chauncey Bailey was an extrodinary man of great courage and strength. He was the editor of the Post in Oakland, California; he was murdered because of an article he was writing concerning the nesting place of street criminals. I feel as if what he did was extremely honorable. I personally wish I had his courage. I think that we live in a world filled with martyrs and cowards. But I do not think it is healthy to go to extremes. There should be a balance between the two absolute entities of total courage and complete cowardness. But if I had to chose, I would like to live (not die) on my feet. I would like to live a fulfilling, courageous life and I would like to strive to report the truth no matter what obstacles may come in my path. It is always important to me to do what is considered moral, though I am not sure I have the courage to do what Chauncey Bailey did. But, for me, to live with some sort of dignity knowing that I have made ethical decisions throughout the course of life is priceless.

Ryan said...

Chauncey Bailey was a journalist and editor of a newspaper in Oakland California. Bailey was shot to death while walking to work, allegedly by Devaughne Broussard. It is questionable if Broussard is the correct killer of the acclaimed journalist. Bailey was killed while writing a story looking into Your Black Muslim Bakery and its possible connection to gang violence. I believe that Bailey died unnecessarily for a just cause. He felt that the public needed to know about what was going on behind the scenes of Your Black Muslim Bakery and died honorably for it.

Daniel said...

Chauncey Bailey was an editor for many newspapers, but most notably for his work with the post in Oakland.
He epitomized Horace Greely's quote, "Print the truth and raise hell." When reporting about the Black Muslim Bakery, he received many death threats, but still continued to report what was going on.
On his way to work, he was shot 3 times for doing his job. He died in search of the truth.
In the words of Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Ideally, as a person, I would rather die on my feet. I am a person of strong conviction and I think that in any situation I would stand up to adversity no matter the cost. However, I have never been faced with my own death in that way. Everyone thinks they know what they would do, but they dont. So, if I ever get to stand up for what I believe, I will cross that bridge when I get to it,

Dana said...

Chauncey Bailey was the first American journalist in over 30 years to be murdered because of his work. He was one of the most successful black journalists in the country and a man who believed in his work- this belief is what helped get him killed. He grew up in the Oakland California community where he felt he had to choose between journalism or the black panthers- thankfully for those in Oakland he chose journalism and used it to be an advocate for change. Bailey was against the Your Black Muslim Bakery which was basically a front for criminal activity in the city. For pursuing the story he was constantly threatened but as Bailey's friends said, "He would pursue a story to the end. He was dogged." I'm not sure that when I, faced with death threats, would continue to pursue a story to the end. Maybe within his pursuit is where Chauncey Bailey's greatness lies. I want to be a journalist who is an advocate for change, and a voice for the people, but to what cost? Am i willing to walk away from a life I haven't even lived yet in order to bring a story to life? To be honest I don't think I am. Maybe I'm selfish, but I want a lifetime of stories for change, not just one that is marked by my death in the end. Maybe Bailey didn't realize the extent of what he was doing, maybe he did- but i still wonder if he thought it was something he was willing to die for. People ask me all the time if I'm going to try and be a war journalist and I'm always taken aback by it- death is not something I signed on for when I fell in love with writing and with journalism. I just hope I can make an impact without losing my life in the process.

Thomas said...

Chauncey Bailey was one of America's most successful African American journalists. He was editor for the Oakland Post in California. He covered controversial topics and tried to uncover gang activity and other criminal matters. He was always honorable and stood up for what he believed in. He was passionate about his work and never allowed the threats he often recieved to affect him or hold him back. He was always out there doing his job despite whatever circumstances confronted him. He was shot and killed on his walk to work one morning in 2007. It is suspected that those belonging to "Black Muslim Bakery," a street gang, are responsible for his murder. He had been working on a story uncovering some of their illegal activities with drug dealing and their bankruptcy.
I belive that it is better to die on your feet. Bailey had something he was so passionate about and believed in so much that he risked his safety and it eventually took his life. If you're going to die, this is the way to do it. You go down honorably and with a just cause.

lorraine said...

Chauncey Bailey, a well-renowned journalist, was best known for his work on issues dealing with the African American community. He had been working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery, which was facing bankruptcy. Because of Bailey's articles on the bakery, he was murdered less than a year ago. He was shot by a masked man as he was heading to work one morning. Bailey died for what he believed in. He knew he had a story and decided to continue with it despite the risks it might have involved for him. He found truth to a story and as a journalist, he reported it. As a journalist or as a person, yes, I think it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees. If there is something that you feel strongly and passionate about, then you should stand up for it. Why live life scared and afraid and only see half of the world that you could be seeing if you actually stood up, took risks, and truly lived life?

Jelena said...

Bailey was the editor of the Post in Oakland in California. He was always searching and reporting the truth . He was fair and ethical journalist and that is way he got killed. I can just say that there is no fairness in this world and than the "bad" gays always win. So the few fair individuals that are trying to fix this unfair world end up tragically , just like Bailey . In my opinion is better to be honest and not have mark on your resume after dying, instead of living like a layer . I cannot lie, I cannot report lays , so the conclusion is better be honest and dye for it, ratter than to be a layer and live long with it.

coy pusey said...

Mr. Bailey was respectable Black journalist from Oakland California who was the Editor of the Oakland Post. He was known for his strict reporting and felt the need to report the truth at any consequence if necessary. He was killed allegedly by the “Bakery” who he was investigating for corruption, and finance problems. He was a dedicated mentor to some of Oakland’s troubled teens, and had a passion to help his community strive for success. His dedication to journalism is unquestionable. He followed the ethics code and he certain went above and beyond his call of service to his community to “seek truth and report it”. Although he had warning sign that did not intimidate him from caring on his duty as a journalist. I think we could all say that he died with an ethics of journalism in one hand and his values in the other.

coy pusey said...

Mr. Bailey was respectable Black journalist from Oakland California who was the Editor of the Oakland Post. He was known for his strict reporting and felt the need to report the truth at any consequence if necessary. He was killed allegedly by the “Bakery” who he was investigating for corruption, and finance problems. He was a dedicated mentor to some of Oakland’s troubled teens, and had a passion to help his community strive for success. His dedication to journalism is unquestionable. He followed the ethics code and he certain went above and beyond his call of service to his community to “seek truth and report it”. Although he had warning sign that did not intimidate him from caring on his duty as a journalist. I think we could all say that he died with an ethics of journalism in one hand and his values in the other.

Lisa said...

Chauncey Bailey was an activist. He was someone who, instead of living comfortably with his life pursued making life better for others... a bodhisattva in a way. He is the model of journalism that I preach about and hope to live up to if I enter the world of journalism... he like Veronica Geurin, created a journalistic endeavor to not only hold the government accountable for it's actions but citizens accountable for their actions towards each other. In a micro world he was creating the greater good for the macro community.

Melissa Vitale said...

Chauncey Baily was the editor of the Oakland Post.He was a young dedicated journalist who dedicated himself to reporting and would stop at nothing to get the story he desired. Unfortunatly, it cost him his life. Growing up in East Oakland himself he thought he could help his community by exposing people through his writing. It turns out that Bailey was investigating a group of black Muslims. In doing so he found out about their violent behavior and was able to get information on their finances. This led to the death of Chauncey Bailey.
It was very brave of him to die standing on his feet rather then doing a half as job of reporting. I do not feel that many journailts have the same attitude as Bailey.I do not know any one who would want to die for thier career. I think that Bailey should be remembered for his bravery and honesty to the public!

Rachel said...

Well this is one of those stories you read that plays out like a movie. It’s filled with good guys, bad guys, dirty cops, violence, and death. However, it’s not a movie or fiction. The fact that Chauncey Bailey, a journalist from Oakland, was killed because of a story he was writing proves that no good deed goes unpunished. His truth seeking cost him his life and for what? Does someone have to die before the truth can be told? Bailey wasn’t even the only one to suffer. The story talked about all the viscous criminal acts on the citizens of Oakland that had been taking place for years, but were never investigated. I am sometimes na├»ve about people, especially people with authority, but this story reminds me that sometimes authority figures, such as police and politicians, are the most dangerous, threatening groups out there. The possibility of his murder being a conspiracy is inconceivable. As far as the question goes, I don’t think you should ever have to make that choice. But if I did, I suppose the most ideal way to die, as a journalist, is on your feet standing up for the truth and what you believe in. (However, what good does that do for you if your dead.)This story is extremely important to media ethics because it shows the harm involved in reporting the truth. Especially if you report something that people with power don’t want you to know.

Jillian said...

Reporter and editor Chauncey Bailey was murdered while investigating the Oakland, CA bakery, Your Black Muslim Bakery, which behind the scenes, was a sinister nearly cult-like operation of organized crime.

To stand up against the group behind Your Black Muslim Bakery required fortitude beyond what most of us possess. For the good of the community, Bailey took on a monstrous organization and paid the ultimate price.

Still, there is a certain innate recklessness in modern martyrdom. Could Bailey have exercised more caution in his investigation? Probably. Would that caution have prevented his death? We’ll never know. Dying for a cause is not necessarily the most noble thing, especially when living for a cause would produce greater positive change in the long run. It’s impossible to know if things could have turned out any differently, so we’ll just have to stick with what we do know – that Bailey was courageous, he believed in his community and his work, and he refused to back down.

Yes, it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. But it seems an overly romantic suggestion that those are the only two choices. A dead reporter can’t uncover truth and protect the public. It is so important for us as journalists to examine the line carefully before jumping to one side or the other, or walking away entirely.

Jimmy said...

Chauncey Bailey was a courageous reporter who worked to stop the Young Black Muslim Bakery crime gang in Oakland, California.

It is always better to put up the good fight. If you do not do what you believe is right then there is no point in living. If you die while fighting for something you believe in it is much better than staying alive and thinking about what you could have done.

Sorry for this post being late, but this is a philosophy I strongly believe in even though if faced with the same situation I might not pull through I'd like to think I would.

Jesse Ordansky said...

Chauncey Bailey was a journalist who wrote for many different newspapers from the 1970's until his death in 2007. The Oakland Post, The Hartford Courant and The United Press International are just a few of the publications he contributed work to. He also did a significant amount of work as a newscaster for both radio and television stations. Bailey was notorious for confronting controversial and uncomfortable racial truths in the greater Oakland and California area.

Bailey wrote a story in 2007 about a business called Your Black Muslim Bakery, allegedly revealing suggestive and possibly criminal facts. On August 2nd, 2007 Bailey was killed by a disgruntled former employee. One can assume that this occured due to the nature of Bailey's publication, but the definitive motive is still questionable.

Bailey was an exemplary model for ethics in media. He was well aware that exposing such controversial material could have damaged his well-being and safety, but he continued to research and write his story regardless. Bailey was willing to put himself in danger for the sake of informing the public about a serious local issue. I believe that this is an admirable way for a journalist to conduct himself.

Is Media Ethics Education DOA?

It sounds like a joke Jay Leno would tell during his opening monologue on The Tonight Show. Hear about the graduate students at the prestigious journalism school? They got caught cheating on an ethics exam. Ha ha ha. Except that’s actually what happened at Columbia University in late 2006.

Students had been given 48 hours to sign onto a Columbia Web site to take the final exam in a required course called “Critical Issues in Journalism.” They then had 90 minutes to answer two essay questions.

The students were warned to not discuss the questions with each other, but apparently they did. As the headline over a story reporting the scandal put it, “Ivy J-Schoolers Fail Ethics, Ace Irony.”

No one admitted cheating despite pressure from the school’s administrators and pleas from classmates, who feared the scandal would damage the market value of their degrees. Meanwhile, the teacher of the course, New York Times columnist Samuel G. Freedman, refused to comment. But if the disgruntled posts on RateMyProfessors.com are any indication, his students hadn’t exactly been soaking up knowledge. “Maybe he could e-mail his ‘speeches’ to the students instead of making everyone suffer through the most wasted class in j-school. . . ,” one read.

There’s an old cowboy saying that goes, “When your horse dies, get off.” Journalism ethics education is a dead horse. Or else those aren’t vultures circling in the sky.

A Question for Socrates


The question of how ethics is learned, or even if it can be, is as old as Western philosophy. In Plato’s dialog Meno the title character asks, “Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?” Of course, Socrates, being Socrates, resists giving a definite answer. But we can’t. The sad fact is, students had better get an effective ethics education now or they may never.


Last summer I conducted an ethics workshop for some reporters and editors at the Poughkeepsie Journal, a small daily in upstate
New York owned by Gannett Co., Inc. The woman in charge of organizing the workshop had supplied us with several case studies to examine. I remember one dealt with a classic conflict of interest, a copy editor who moonlighted at a local radio station.

But what I remember most is the air of defeat that clung to the staff as we sat on hard plastic chairs in the break room discussing the cases. I could hear in their voices the bitterness and cynicism of employees forced to follow corporate policies they despised. Recently, for example, the paper had started running display ads on the front page and section fronts, a much more grievous ethical lapse, their mumbled asides suggested, than anything the case studies might have to offer.

I don’t want my students to ever wear the gray, defeated expression I saw that day on the faces at the Journal. But given the downward direction in which the media are moving, and fast, how in the world can I prevent it from happening?

Teaching Media Ethics by Telling Stories

A friend of mine who teaches at a big Midwestern university recounts in class the events of her first week as a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune. She was sent to Duluth to cover Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey on the campaign trail. When they were introduced, Humphrey vigorously shook her hand. “Oh yes, Susan,” he said, “I read your stuff all the time.” He couldn’t have read her stuff, though; she hadn’t written anything yet. “Just a few words,” she explains to her students, “but words that taught this fledging reporter a great lesson about pols and the little lies they tell.”

I usually find occasion during the semester to quote I. F. Stone’s dictum, “Every government is run by liars and thieves, and nothing they say should be believed,” to make the same point. But Susan’s story makes the point better. That’s because it has existential force. Her story vividly captures in a way a secondhand quote can’t the realities of a reporter’s life.

Some might think telling “war stories” is a waste of precious class time. I’ve a colleague who didn’t want to fall into the “trap” of regaling students with stories ad nauseam (“which, let’s face it, is easier than teaching or grading,” he said). So one semester he kept track. When he toted it all up at the end, he was surprised that he’d used less than an hour - out of 45 – talking about his newspaper experiences. And yet, he admitted, it was his stories that students seemed to remember most.

“Stories teach us how to live,” Daniel Taylor said in his essay, “The Ethical Implications of Storytelling.” What he meant was that stories preserve our experience for contemplation and evaluation. Although not all stories carry a heavy message, there’s an entire category of stories, so-called “exemplary tales,” that are told to convey a moral.

Our war stories are potentially just such tales. They can provide evidence, in ethicist John Barton’s words, of “how real human beings live through various crises and trials and remain human.” My colleague who kept tabs on his storytelling has described his stories as cautionary. Most, he said, deal with “screwups I learned from.”

But sometimes the storyteller and the audience can’t agree on what exactly the moral of a story is.

When Susan was a cub reporter on the Tribune, she interviewed the Beatles, who were on their second tour of the States. She got into their hotel room by dressing up as a waitress in an ugly, mustard-colored uniform and accompanying an actual room service waiter upstairs. Ringo took one look at her little plastic name tag – it read “Donna Brown” – and snorted, “What kind of name is that?” The waiter nudged her in the side. “Tell them what you real name is,” he urged. She did, as well as her reason for being there. Rather than throw her out, the Beatles politely answered her questions. They even let her phone for a photographer. The next day her story ran on the front page, with a photo of John sitting at a table and looking up at her and laughing as she poured coffee in his cup. She still has a glossy print of that photo somewhere.

Many of Susan’s students think she’s nuts for not having the photo hanging up in her office. They also think she’s nuts for saying she’d never participate in the same kind of stunt today. To her celebrity-struck students, disguising herself as a hotel waitress to get an interview with the Beatles seems soooo cool. They lose all sight of the fact that it wasn’t a story of vital public interest that demanded undercover methods.

Susan intends one lesson when she talks about her hard day’s night, but her students, living in a paparazzi-saturated culture, draw another. “It may be a lost cause,” she remarked to me.

Or maybe not. Negotiations over what the point of a story is can be part of the point of the story. In the process of negotiating, we test different interpretations, try out different themes. This is helpful. This is educational. Lawrence Kohlberg, the Harvard psychologist famous for his research on the stages of moral development, contended that “the teaching of virtue is the asking of questions. . . not the giving of answers.” Stories don’t necessarily have to yield clear moral rules to be of value. It’s enough sometimes if they just give us something to think about.