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The University of Texas at Austin


In Memoriam: Investigative Journalist Jay McMullen, 1921-2012

March 19, 2012

Austin, Texas – The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin mourns the passing of renowned CBS writer and producer Jay McMullen, who produced some of the most riveting and journalistically significant documentaries in television history. The Briscoe Center is home to the Jay McMullen Papers.

McMullen was known for his meticulous research for his radio and television exposés. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1921, McMullen started out as a World War II correspondent, earning a Bronze Star for his Sunday Night "Army Hour" broadcasts. Once he joined the CBS Radio team, McMullen produced award-winning, compelling reports, including "Chronicle of Terror: the Galindez–Murphy Case," about a Columbia University Spanish professor who was kidnapped in New York and murdered by the administration of the Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo; and "Who Killed Michael Farmer?" about New York City teenage street gangs in the 1950s. Working with such renowned journalists as Edward R. Murrow, McMullen and the CBS radio team, captivated audiences with their sharp investigative reporting and intriguing findings.

McMullen went on to create some of television's most hard-hitting, relevant documentaries as head producer and writer for "CBS Reports." The broad array of topics covered in the series included unprecedented investigations on Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters in 1959, the uncovering of the dire living situation in the slums of Chicago during the 1960s, and Toyota's arrival in the United States in the 1980s. McMullen and the CBS team also traveled abroad to investigate issues such as heroin production in 1970s Mexico, the selling of F-14 fighter planes to Iran in the 1970s, and the "Koreagate" scandal in 1976.

"We are saddened to hear of Jay McMullen's death," said Briscoe Center Executive Director Don Carleton. "His body of work represents complete dedication to the highest of journalistic standards."

"McMullen's professional papers are a significant addition to our News Media Archives," Carleton continued. "The McMullen Papers give researchers an understanding not only of the topics he covered, but also his meticulous organization and his devotion to accuracy and thorough research."

The McMullen Papers span 1942 to 2006, and document his career as a U.S. Army correspondent, CBS Radio reporter, and CBS News producer. The bulk of the collection documents McMullen's twenty-nine year career with CBS News. The papers include original scripts for the television documentaries he wrote and produced, research binders, clippings, correspondence, internal CBS memos, advertising and promotional materials, budgets, and cameramen's dope sheets. The finding aid is available online:

For more information, contact: Erin Purdy, associate director for communications, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History 512-495-4692.