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

As Colleges Educate Players On Concussions, Repeated Head Hits Rise As A Concern

November 25, 2015
Wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley, left, takes a hit from defensive back Asante Gibson during a Harvard football practice on Nov. 2. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Harvard is a leader in the prevention and treatment of concussions among football players. But there’s new focus on sub-concussive hits as well.

Demonstrators At Brandeis Say They’re Prepared To Protest Through Thanksgiving

November 24, 2015

Dozens of student protesters demanding an increase in the diversity of students, staff and faculty at Brandeis University are seeking additional conversations with school administrators.

Baker’s Opposition To Resettling Syrian Refugees In Mass. Gets Pushback

November 17, 2015

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday that until he can get more information about how Syrian refugees are vetted by the federal government, he opposes efforts to resettle them in Massachusetts.

BU Students Protest Peacefully In Show Of Solidarity With Missouri Students

November 13, 2015
Several hundred Boston University students gathered at Marsh Plaza to show solidarity for University of Missouri students who have been protesting the treatment of minorities on their campus. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Several hundred Boston University students gathered along Commonwealth Avenue Friday to demand that American colleges address the concerns of students of color.

Veterans Flock To Boston School For Vocational Training

November 11, 2015
Brian Worley (right) works on the creation of a violin at the North Bennet Street School. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Veterans make up 20 percent of the full-time students at North Bennet Street School, training for careers in everything from bookbinding to violin-making and repair.

Archaeologists Dig Up Artifacts That Better Pinpoint Where Patriots’ Day Battle Happened

October 28, 2015
Archaeologist Sam Rousseau digs on the site of the Tabitha Nelson/Thomas Nelson House along Battle Road in Minute Man National Park. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Archaeologists in Lexington have just made a significant discovery: musket balls. The location of these buried artifacts offer new details about one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

MIT Experiments With Online Semester For Admission Into Graduate Program

October 07, 2015
A doctoral student at MIT reads outside a building at the Cambridge campus. (Michael Dwyer/AP File)

MIT is launching a pilot program that will allow students interested in getting a master’s degree in supply chain management to earn credit for their first semester online.

Sanders Draws Tens Of Thousands To Rally At Boston Convention Center

October 04, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders pauses during a campaign rally in Springfield on Saturday. Later that day, Sanders spoke to thousands at a campaign rally in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Roughly more than 25,000 people attended the Democratic presidential candidate’s Boston speech Saturday.

In Light Of New Report, State Looks To DCF Reforms

October 02, 2015

Massachusetts is making changes to its screening process for foster parents in response to the death of a 2-year-old girl in a foster home in Auburn and the near death of a second child.

Cardinal O’Malley: Pope Francis Is ‘Taking Steps To Move Us In The Right Direction’ On Sex Abuse

September 29, 2015
In this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis, right, talks with Cardinal Sean O'Malley, of Boston, as they arrive for a special consistory in the Synod Hall at the Vatican. (Andrew Medichini/AP/File)

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said Pope Francis is committed to a “massive” process of educating bishops about how to deal with sexual abuse by priests, and removing them when necessary.

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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