Award-winning journalist Alison Bass has joined the West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism as an assistant professor of journalism. Bass, who is the author of a critically acclaimed book about the pharmaceutical industry, will teach reporting and writing courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs this fall.

Bass’s book, Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial, won the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award in 2009. In 2007, she was awarded an Alicia Patterson Fellowship to research Side Effects. The book tells the true story of two women who exposed the deception behind the making of a best-selling drug. Bass currently blogs about public health and health care issues at and is working on her next book.

Before joining the School of Journalism, Bass taught at Mount Holyoke College, Brandeis University and Boston University. She was a long-time medical and science writer for The Boston Globe and in 1996 received the Top Media Award from the National Mental Health Association. Her work has also appeared in such publications as The Chicago Tribune and Psychology Today.

Bass is excited about sharing her expertise in science journalism and investigative reporting with WVU students.

“I hope the students will learn how to gather and critically evaluate the information they dig up, whether from the wealth of information now available on the Web or the files in a government archive,” Bass said. “Good journalism also involves asking the right questions and learning the craft of writing good prose. My students will learn how to translate their research and reporting into coherent pieces that capture the attention and imagination of their target audience.”

School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed says Bass’ reporting background will benefit students in the classroom and beyond.

“Professor Bass’ background in health and science journalism adds to the breadth of what we can offer our students,” said Reed. “It can also help to make them more marketable in an industry where graduates are expected to have both general and specialized experience and skills.”

Bass, who grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, received her bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and her master’s degree from Harvard University Extension School. She has also worked for The Miami Herald and Technology Review and CIO, a business magazine that covers information technology.



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CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism