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Journalist William Worthy '42 commits to his convictions

For half a century journalist William Worthy forged a path in the coverage of global events. Following a distinguished performance in 1955 as a foreign correspondent in the Soviet Union for CBS News and the Baltimore Afro American, Worthy, then a 35-year-old Nieman Fellow at Harvard, slipped into China in 1956–57 to report for 41 days in defiance of a U.S. travel ban. Upon his return home, the State Department denied him a new passport when he refused to promise that he would curtail future travel.

Without a passport, Worthy traveled in l961 to forbidden Cuba. After four visits — from which he reported and helped to produce an ABC–TV documentary, "Yanki, No!" — his own government tried and sentenced him to jail. When a federal appeals court unanimously overturned his conviction in l964, ruling travel restrictions to be unconstitutional, Worthy was still journeying — without benefit of passport — throughout Southeast Asia.

In 1981, after returning from a CBS assignment in Iran, Worthy and two colleagues won $16,000 in Fourth Amendment damages from the FBI and CIA for confiscating from their baggage at the Boston airport Iranian paperback reprints of classified CIA documents, seized when Iranian students took over the U.S. embassy in Teheran in 1979.

Currently, Worthy serves as special assistant to the dean of the School of Communications at Howard University, where he taught between 1990 and 1993 as Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Professor.

This Faces at Bates profile was posted March 2000

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Alexandra Dingman '05 improves lives with horses
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Historian Margaret Creighton reveals untold stories of Gettysburg
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For Volkan Stodolosky '02, the chance to act on a curiosity about the world
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