When reporters are murdered

The Chauncey Bailey Project was modeled after the Arizona Project, which drew journalists in 1976 from across the country to complete the work of the Arizona Republic’s Don Bolles. While investigating land fraud, Bolles was killed by a car bomb. This video shows what’s left of Don Bolles’ car, on display at the Newseum.

Unlike the Arizona Project, which predominantly drew newspaper reporters, the Chauncey Bailey project drew journalists from a wide-range of backgrounds: daily, weekly, web, print, television and journalism education. On the project website, the journalists describe challenges — stories held for days in one medium so the others could catch up. Yet Pete Wevurski, managing editor of the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, said that the project “will be the most important work any of us have ever done and ever will do.”

Student activities at three levels:

Flashlight: Start a Wordpress blog on which the students will each post a short piece comparing and contrasting the Chauncey Bailey Project and the Arizona Project. After online research, ask them to explain what was done differently in the Chauncey Bailey Project. What lessons could be applied to future projects?

Spotlight: Research ABRAJI. What is it? When was it founded and why? Who was Tim Lopez? What role did Rosental Alves of the University of Texas play in the group’s founding? Here’s a starting point. Blog the results of your research.

Searchlight: There are many dangers to freelancing in the journalism world. Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen noted that terrorists are the shock troops in a “new war on journalists.” Discuss with the class: Are the benefits worth the risks? More than 2,000 journalists from around the world have died while gathering the news. Explore their stories at the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial and view this video of the memorial. Pick five of the journalists. Can you find any evidence that their colleagues finished the stories they were working on? The Committee to Protect Journalists keeps track of what it calls the Impunity Index, how many killers of journalists go free. What happens most of the time when journalists are murdered for doing their jobs? Put your findings out through social media.

Extra credit: Examine this map of journalists murdered in Mexico. The map will tell you where the murder occurred, the type of attack and the type of aggressor. What can information like this tell us? Is it necessary to have a map of the entire world? Why? How can it help us assess risk?