WBUR Staff

Fred Thys

Reporter, WBUR

Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education at WBUR.

Fred broke the story that the federal government may have lied to the Supreme Court in order to obtain the landmark ruling that established the state secrets privilege.

In 1998, WBUR sent Fred to Bosnia to train journalists as part of a State Department program. It turned out to be Fred who learned from the Bosnians, even as he shared with them how American journalists work.

Prior to joining WBUR in 1998, Fred was Mexico City bureau chief for NBC News. He managed a team of producers, stringers, cameramen (they were all men), sound technicians and editors who covered Latin America. Fred’s responsibilities included directing coverage of the takeover of the Japanese embassy in Lima by Tupac Amaru guerrillas.

For two years, beginning in 1993, Fred wrote and produced news and cultural programs for CNN International from Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a field producer in CNN’s New York bureau for two years.

As CBS News’s South America reporter, based in Buenos Aires, Fred led the network’s radio and television coverage of three military rebellions in Argentina, the protests against Chile’s President Augusto Pinochet and Chile’s transition to democracy, the overthrow of Paraguay’s long-time dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, and papal visits to Peru, Argentina and Chile. Fred, his camera crew, and editor were the first U.S. television network team to get into Paraguay after the overthrow of Stroessner.

Fred has produced and reported stories from Latin America and the Middle East. He has worked in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates. He reported on the drug wars in Colombia, the growing tensions between the United States and Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the U.S. invasion of Panama, the visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Cuba, the visit of President George H. W. Bush to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, the devastation of Jamaica by Hurricane Gilbert, and Iranian attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

As a field producer for ABC New Documentaries, Fred broke the story that Argentina had U.S. and Swiss equipment in its plutonium separation and uranium enrichment plants.

Fred holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Williams College.

Recent stories

Former Mass. Gov. Bill Weld Chosen As Libertarian VP Candidate

May 30, 2016
Campaign buttons for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate Bill Weld at the National Libertarian Party Convention on Friday in Orlando. (John Raoux/AP)

Weld was, until a few weeks ago, a Republican — and many delegates at the convention were still skeptical of his loyalty to the Libertarian Party.

How Libertarians Gathered For Election 2016 Convention In Orlando Choose Their Nominees

May 29, 2016

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is among the contenders for vice president.

High Rises Bring Changes To Boston’s ‘Hobby Street’

May 25, 2016
A bustling Bromfield Street in the afternoon. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

We take a walk down Boston’s Bromfield Street. “I don’t have anything against the high rises,” a restaurant owner says, “but I don’t want to lose that Boston feel, too.”

Man Accused Of Kidnapping Woman Says She Asked Him To Take Her Out Of Nursing Home

May 21, 2016

The man, David Collignon, faces a charge of permitting abuse of an elderly or disabled person after he allegedly took his friend out of the nursing home.

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Parishioners Of Closed Scituate Church

May 16, 2016
Mary Fernandes, left, and Nancy Shilts, parishioners at St. Frances X. Cabrini in Scituate, react in the church Monday while talking about its closing. The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from parishioners who are occupying the church, which the Archdiocese of Boston closed more than a decade ago. (Steven Senne/AP)

Former parishioners of the closed St. Frances X. Cabrini have occupied the church for 11 years.

Former MIT Student Pleads Not Guilty To Raping BU Student

May 11, 2016

Samson Donick pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rape. The trial is scheduled for February.

Harvard Students Protest Move Against Final Clubs, Fraternities And Sororities

May 10, 2016
Harvard students protest the school's recent policies targeting students in single-sex final clubs, sororities and fraternities. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

Dozens of protesters said the school’s new policies restrict female spaces that are “crucial sources of empowerment.”

Harvard Moves Against Single-Gender Final Clubs, Sororities And Fraternities

May 06, 2016
People walk past as someone enters the Fly Club, a final club for male undergraduates of Harvard University. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Members of the unrecognized social organizations will be banned from leadership positions in student organizations or athletic teams and prohibited from receiving recommendations for scholarships from deans.

Mass. High Court Weighs Whether Drivers Can Call A Lawyer Before Taking A Breathalyzer Test

May 05, 2016
A police officer administering a breathalyzer to a driver. (Pixabay)

Under Massachusetts law, if a driver fails a breathalyzer test, that’s conclusive evidence of drunk driving.

Dover Moves Forward With Controversial 2.7-Mile-Long Bike Path

May 05, 2016
By a vote of 475 to 334, residents at Monday's town meeting approved giving the Board of Selectmen the authority to lease the land from the MBTA for 99 years for a controversial bike trail. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Dover has voted to allow for the creation of a bike path that has divided the town over concerns it would alter its rural character.

Bristol County Suicide Spike Not Just ‘A Bump In The Road’

July 20, 2015

Bristol County is seeing a surge in suicides. In the past three and a half years, 171 people in the county have died by suicide.

Hundreds Mourn Surgeon Fatally Shot At Boston’s Brigham And Women’s Hospital

January 23, 2015
A woman wears a button honoring Michael Davidson at his funeral service Friday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

From the funeral of cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael J. Davidson, who was shot to death this week at a Boston hospital: “Surgeons are not known for their bedside manner, but Michael had it in spades,” Terri Halperin, Dr. Davidson’s widow, said during the service. “That’s why the fact that a patient’s family member would take Michael away from us makes it all the more devastating.”

When Muscular Dystrophy Is Personal — And Global

September 18, 2014

My brother first developed symptoms when he was 15, and found that he could no longer run as fast as his high school soccer teammates. Since the age of 43, he has been confined to a wheelchair or scooter, unable to walk or stand.

Listening Back To One Of The Real ‘Monuments Men’

February 12, 2014
This photo provided by The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art of Dallas shows group members as they remove Michelangelo’s "Bruges Madonna" from the salt mine in Altaussee, Austria, on July 10, 1945. (AP/National Archives and Records Administration)

With the new George Clooney film out, we bring back a 1998 interview with one of the real Monuments Men.

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