English and Journalism Professor on Front Page of Tunisian and Vietnamese Newspapers

   Thomas Bass in La Presse 
  Thomas Bass on Tuoi Tre
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On April 27th, Professor of English and journalism Thomas Bass was surprised to find his picture and articles about his work on the front page of the largest newspapers in Tunisia and Vietnam. His assignments in North Africa and Southeast Asia are unrelated, but they both exemplify the award-winning investigative reporting for which he is known.

The article in Tunisia's La Presse highlighted a project mounted by Professor Bass and his Journalism Program colleagues Rosemary Armao and Nancy Roberts. With a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, UAlbany has been assisting Tunisia's Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l'Information (IPSI) in developing a two-year Master's degree program in investigative reporting. The National Press Institute, which is responsible for training Tunisia's next generation of media professionals, is advancing the Arab Spring revolution that deposed Tunisia's dictator in 2011. The country's start-up democracy is quickly developing the free press that will support this democracy.

Professor Bass's work in Vietnam, cited by the Overseas Press Club, also involves investigative reporting. In 2009 he published The Spy Who Loved Us, a book about famed Vietnamese spy and journalist Pham Xuan An, who had worked during the Vietnam war for The New Yorker, Reuters, and Time magazine, before he was unmasked after the war as an intelligence agent for the North Vietnamese. Scheduled to be published in Vietnam soon after its appearance in the United States, the book was blocked by Vietnam's heavy-handed censors, as they altered and removed hundreds of passages. (A complete translation will be released later this year, outside of Vietnam.) The cover story in Tuoi Tre, Communist Youth, Vietnam's largest newspaper, hailed the appearance of his book in Vietnam and used its publication to mark the 39th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

Professor Bass's next assignment? More investigative reporting on start-up journalism in Tunisia and censorship in Vietnam.