The CDAA is pleased to announce that Michael Bass will be the speaker at the Holiday Party on December 7.
When asked what impact The Cavalier Daily had on his career following graduation, Michael Bass, CLAS ’83, replied, “Impact my career? It gave me my career.”
As an out-of-state resident, Bass didn’t come to the University of Virginia knowing very many students. He followed an advertisement for a Cav Daily open house and was struck by a notable sight.
“The first thing I saw when I walked through the door was a 300-pound staff member — who later became a good friend, as well as much thinner — standing on a chair and ranting over a fire he was building in a garbage can,” said Bass. “Apparently, he had just changed his major and was celebrating by burning his old syllabus. And I thought, ‘This seems like it might be an interesting place.’”
Building upon his work with his high school newspaper, Bass rose through the ranks – from associate news editor to projects editor, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. According to Bass, his time at the University was “dominated” with his time in the Cav Daily offices. It was here where he learned lessons that stay with him today.
“I’m glad that working at the CD gave me passion and a sense of mission,” he says. “Made me tougher. Taught me the importance of finding truth, wherever it might lead. Those are all qualities that have helped me not just in my career, but in my life.”
Looking back at his time with the Cav Daily, Bass particularly recalls when former President Gerald Ford visited Grounds and a group of paper staffers interviewed him. According to Bass, he did not ask questions, but simply listened and reflected on the opportunities of journalism.
Directly out of college, Bass worked for the Associated Press’ Richmond and Nashville bureaus before moving on to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and then The Hudson Dispatch. The latter paper folding brought Bass back to the AP until 1995, when he “[returned] to daily newspapers” at The Record of Hackensack. He finally returned to the AP in 1998, working first as director of the News Research Department, then director of strategic planning.
Today, Bass serves as director of news operations for the Associated Press. “The job basically touches on all aspects of the news department other than the actual journalism,” Bass says, “including, but not limited to, finances, emergency planning, technology, travel, real estate and so on.” Recently, he added a “special events” responsibility to the position, so he controls AP operations for events such as the Olympics. This job is the latest in a path that leads back to Bass’ time at the Cav Daily.
“I came to UVA thinking I’d be a lawyer. My GPA killed that idea — mostly because I spent more time at the Cavalier Daily than in class,” Bass said. “So I had no clue what I was going to do. In my role as editor-in-chief, I had worked with the AP bureau chief in Richmond. In desperation more than anything else, I called him and asked him if AP offered internships, and whether I could apply. It did, and I could. And so here I am.”