Jay McMullen was the writer/producer of hard-hitting television documentaries of the 1960s, several of which were distributed to school film libraries and seen in schools. Former president of CBS News (and EP of CBS Reports) Fred W. Friendly once called McMullen "broadcast journalism's first and only investigative reporter... a painfully slow worker who sometimes takes a year to pick his next story. He was a tremendous asset to CBS Reports, but we could only afford one of him. Stubborn and intractable, he could not be rushed and I learned early that I could give him no deadline, not even a year in which a broadcast could be scheduled."
Born in Minneapolis, MN on 8 April, 1921, Jay Latimer McMullen attended Dartmouth College prior to the advent of World War II. He joined the Volunteer Ambulance Corps in 1941, serving as a driver with British troops and the French Foreign Legion in the Middle East before joining the U.S. Army in Algiers in 1943. Soon thereafter, he honed his investigative skills as an army correspondent, winning a Bronze Star for his Sunday Night "Army Hour" broadcasts. His award stated "McMullen's recordings are the most vivid and the best received interviews from any theater of war."
In 1949, he joined CBS as a radio writer, left several times, then returned in 1954, working for Irv Gitlin's radio team at CBS, producing award-winning radio documentaries as:
McMullen transferred to the CBS Reports television team, where he stayed until his retirement in 1985. He produced the following documentaries in the 'CBS Reports' series:
Jay's daughter Anne notes: "From 1964 to 1966 dad headed the CBS News Fact Finding Unit. Some of the unit's exposes focused on mail order clinical laboratories and illegal traffic in pep pills and were credited with sparking new federal legislation. When President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Drug Control Act of 1965, he invited dad to attend the ceremonies."
Jay McMullen passed away on March 10, 2012 at the age of 90. He will be remembered as an exacting, no-compromise filmmaker, and a major contributor to the art and craft of television news documentary, whose work was seen by countless thousands of classroom students in North America in 16mm film versions. His obituary at cbs.com includes a one hour video of McMullen's 'Biography of a Bookie Joint.'