Saturday, August 04, 2007

African-American Newspaper Editor, Chauncey Bailey, 57, of the Post, Assassinated Near Courthouse

Oakland Post editor gunned down

San Jose Mercury News

Friends expressed shock at news that Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down this morning in downtown Oakland.

Witnesses told police a masked gunman shot a man, then fled on foot to a waiting van and drove off. Police have not released a name but sources said that Bailey, 57, was the apparent victim.

The shooting happened about 7:25 a.m. in the 1400 block of Alice Street.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they have no motive for the killing, except that it appeared to be a deliberate attack, and no suspects have been arrested.

Friends said Bailey's morning routine was to go to the McDonald's restaurant at 14th and Jackson streets and then to work at the Post offices at 405 14th St. in downtown Oakland.

Derrick Nesbitt, a friend who worked with Bailey at SoulBeat TV, showed up at the crime scene when he heard the news.

"Bailey was a great reporter, he lived for this stuff," Nesbitt said. "He was very controversial he could bring anger out in people. I always admired that in him. People would call in to the show."

Nesbitt felt a change in Bailey after he left the Tribune. "I always thought he was trying to get back on his track," he said.

An Oakland Tribune reporter for 12 years, between April 1993 and June 2005, Bailey was named editor of the Oakland Post this summer after writing freelance travel stories for the African-American weekly for about two years.

Bailey grew up in Oakland and had worked at other area media outlets including KDIA radio and Soul Beat TV and was involved with OUR-TV on Comcast Ch. 78.

Tribune Managing Editor Martin Reynolds talked with Bailey last week, when they saw each other at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza - outside Oakland City Hall.

"Chauncey was a unique and dedicated journalist who always captured the essence of the stories on his beat," Reynolds said. "He was passionate about his work, he loved his son and would often bring him into the Tribune newsroom."

He was very proud of his son and showed Reynolds a trading card with his son's photo on it. Reynolds said Bailey talked about returning to Vietnam, where he had done travel stories. "You always feel good after talking to Chauncey," Reynolds said.

Another friend expressed shock . "I've made phone calls all over telling people," said Sharon Broussard, a friend of Bailey's for at least 10 years. "They can't believe it. He's done so much for the community.

"I can't believe something like this, so tragic, would happen to someone who really cares about black people in Oakland and as a whole. I really can't talk anymore, because I'm really trying to work through all this."

David Glover, whose friendship with Bailey dates back to the 80s, when Bailey worked in Oakland as a mentor to young people, said "It's just shocking and unbelievable."

He added, "I have no idea why anyone would do it. Chauncey Bailey was a consummate professional."

Glover recalled Bailey as a tireless advocate for journalism - especially the need to attract more blacks and people of color to the field - and a good friend.

"This is not just a local loss, this is a loss to the field nationally," said Glover, executive director of the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal, or OCCUR. "His work over the years has probably been responsible for an innumerable set of people being involved in the industry. I know he has been an inspiration to a lot of people."

Glover first met Bailey when he worked with OCCUR, mentoring young people who aspired to careers in journalism.

Bailey also had created a Black Press Weekly, a compilation of significant articles from black newspapers around the country.

"It's a tremendous loss to the community," Glover said. "He's been an intense and committed journalist all his professional career. . . . He was just an outstanding human being. I can't believe it."

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Anyone with information can call police at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at (510) 238-6946.

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