Children: two. Education: Yale University, received degree.
Journalist. Reporter in New Haven, CT, beginning c. 1980; New Haven Advocate, New Haven, editor, 1989-2004; Yale University, New Haven, executive director of the Online Journalism Project; New Haven Independent (online news Web site), New Haven, founder.
Journalist of the Year, New England Press Association, 1997 and 1999; has received other journalism awards.
After decades of working as a journalist in New Haven, Connecticut, Paul Bass became frustrated by the corporatization of local news media. Large companies were buying up smaller newspapers, television stations, and radio stations and making them more generic to save money and boost their bottom lines. Quitting his job as editor of the New Haven Advocate, he took some time to write a book with Doug Rae, Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Kingman Brewster, and the Redemption of a Killer. Rae, a Yale University professor, served on the board of Project MORE, an organization that aims to help released prisoners integrate back into society. The founder of the organization, Warren Kimbro, was the center of an important 1969 case in which he and other Black Panthers conspired to kill Alex Rackley. Kimbro was the one who actually pulled the trigger, shooting Rackley, who was considered to be a snitch against the Panthers, a prominent black militant group. Many others, including Panther leader Bobby Seale, were taken to court, but only Kimbro served time. A model prisoner who earned a degree and ran the prison newspaper while jailed, he was released after five years and became a prominent community leader.
The trial itself was a media circus and a flashpoint for racial tensions in New Haven during a turbulent time in America. Bass and Rae go into great detail about the case and the environment in which it is set. Praising the research that went into the book, a Publishers Weekly critic remarked that the authors ‘succeed in crafting an unbiased and clear account’ and predicted that ‘the quietly moving story of Kimbro's redemption … will affect readers.’ David Adesnik, writing in the Weekly Standard, similarly appreciated the detailed accounts in the book, but felt that Bass and Rae fail to offer much in the way of interpretation of the events. ‘On occasion, they draw broad lessons about American history and politics from an incident in Kimbro's life,’ Adesnik reported. ‘Yet they never develop their analysis beyond the depth of a few sentences.’ A Kirkus Reviews contributor, however, asserted that the authors ‘skillfully relate these events, and a narrative interesting from the first paragraph steadily gathers storm force, as befits its era."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
California Bookwatch, October, 2006, review of Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Kingman Brewster, and the Redemption of a Killer.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Murder in the Model City, p. 624.
Next American City, spring, 2007, ‘Violent Times,’ review of Murder in the Model City.
Publishers Weekly, June 12, 2006, review of Murder in the Model City, p. 43.
Times Literary Supplement, April 13, 2007, Peter Brooks, ‘Yale Not Burning,’ review of Murder in the Model City, p. 14.
Weekly Standard, December 11, 2006, David Adesnik, ‘When Bobby Met Eli; Radical Chic on the Streets of New Haven,’ review of Murder in the Model City.
Boston Globe Online,http://www.boston.com/ (August 8, 2006), Michael Kenney, ‘Rallies, Riots, and a Radical Response,’ review of Murder in the Model City.
CT News Junkie,http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ (August 31, 2006), Andy Thibault, review of Murder in the Model City.
New Haven Independent,http://www.newhavenindependent.org/ (August 4, 2006), Paul Bass, ‘After 37 Years, Spy Comes in from Cold."
PressThink,http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/ (August 8, 2006), Jay Rosen, ‘Liberation!,’ interview with Paul Bass.
Yale School of Management Web site,http://mba.yale.edu/ (September 24, 2007), faculty profile of Paul Bass.