CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (May 6, 2008) — The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard presented the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism posthumously to Chauncey Bailey on Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post, was murdered last August while investigating a bakery suspected of being a front for a criminal organization. Police arrested an employee of the bakery, who allegedly killed Bailey to keep him from publishing an article exposing financial and other abuses within the company.
The Nieman Class of 2008 chose Bailey for the award, recognizing his fearless pursuit of the truth and his work as a vocal advocate for the black community. They noted that Bailey’s life’s work and murder inspired other journalists and news organizations to continue his investigation.
Bailey was a veteran San Francisco Bay Area journalist who covered the African-American community for the Oakland Tribune for 12 years. Prior to working for the Tribune, he wrote for the Detroit News, UPI, and the Hartford Courant.
After leaving the Tribune, he continued to distinguish himself as a reporter on issues of concern to all communities. He was a radio and television journalist and wrote for other Bay Area publications. Before he became editor of the Post Newspapers, he was co-founder and host for OUR-TV (Opportunities in Urban Renaissance Television).
In announcing the award, Nieman Curator Bob Giles added “Chauncey was a courageous editor whose passion for watchdog journalism in the interest of serving his community is powerful model for local newspapers.”
Nieman Fellow Andrew Meldrum, a journalist who has covered Zimbabwe for the past 20 years, presented the award, which carries a prize of $1,000. Conway Jones Jr. accepted the honor on behalf of Chauncey Bailey and the Oakland Post. A businessman and arts patron, Jones retired from the United States Air Force Reserve in 1993 with 30 years of combined active and reserve duty. He founded both Communications Products Company, Inc. and Adelphi Communications, Inc.
The Nieman Class of 1964 established the Louis M. Lyons Award in honor of the Nieman Foundation curator who retired that year after leading the institution for a quarter of a century. The award honors displays of conscience and integrity by individuals, groups or institutions in communications.
Finalists for the 2008 Lyons Award included journalist MGG Pillai, who fought for independent journalism in Malaysia; Juan Pablo Cardenas of Chile, who was jailed for opposing Augusto Pinochet’s government; and BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who reported from Gaza for almost three years before being taken hostage there last year.
Susan Chira, foreign editor for The New York Times, delivered the evening’s keynote address. Chira has served in a variety of positions at the Times including editorial director of book development, editor of the Week in Review and deputy foreign editor. Before that, she served in a variety of reporting positions including national education correspondent, correspondent in Tokyo, metropolitan reporter in the Albany and Stamford bureaus; and reporter for the Business Day section. She is the author of “A Mother’s Place: Rewriting the Rules of Motherhood.”
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard administers the oldest midcareer fellowship program for journalists in the world. Since the program was established in 1938, more than 1,200 journalists of accomplishment from 88 countries have received Nieman Fellowships and have visited the university for a year of study and exploration.
The Nieman Foundation also publishes the quarterly magazine Nieman Reports, the nation’s oldest magazine devoted to a critical examination of the practice of journalism. Additionally, the foundation is home to the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism and the Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project, which encourages reporters and editors to monitor and hold accountable those who exert power in all aspects of public life.