Tom Masland; Foreign Correspondent

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tom Masland, 55, a longtime Africa-based foreign correspondent who since September had been a contributing senior editor at, died Oct. 27 at St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan. A sport-utility vehicle had struck him three days earlier.

A New York police department spokeswoman said Mr. Masland was crossing West 95th Street when an SUV headed north on West End Avenue struck him. No charges were filed.

Thomas Wootton Masland, a resident of Englewood, N.J., was a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., and a 1969 philosophy graduate of Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Early in his career, he worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer and in 1979 helped cover the near-disastrous accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. For its work, the newspaper's staff shared the Pulitzer Prize for local, general or spot-news reporting.

He also spent time in Beirut as Middle East correspondent for the Inquirer.

He worked in South Africa for the Chicago Tribune from 1986 to 1990, and he pursued stories such as famine in Ethiopia, massacres in Burundi and the Persian Gulf War.

In 1990, he joined Newsweek magazine, a property of The Washington Post Co., and wrote from Haiti, the Middle East, and Southern and Central Africa. Reporting from the Dominican Republic and Haiti in 1992, he contributed to an award-winning story about modern slave trafficking in Third World countries.

He told a CNN interviewer that little was accomplished on human bondage although the United Nations had documented the miseries. "I think it's because the higher up into the U.N. bureaucracy that these reports rise, the more and more sanitized they become," he said. "And our strategy, in doing this story, was to try to get to the grass roots, go talk to these people, and bring the story across that way."

In 1994, he was named senior writer for the magazine's international news section and, in 1999, became Africa regional editor and South Africa bureau chief, based in Cape Town.

While covering an uprising in Liberia in 2003, he was injured by shrapnel from an explosion.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, jazz singer Gina Lyden; three sons, Richard, Robert and James Masland, all about to move to Englewood from Cape Town; his mother, Mary Masland of Englewood; a brother; and two sisters.

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