Pulitzer winner Mike McGraw dead at 69

January 8, 2018

Mike McGraw, a longtime Kansas City Star reporter whose insatiable quest to expose wrongdoing spanned four decades, prompted congressional investigations and prodded changes in government policies, died Saturday evening of cancer.

McGraw, who was 69, retired from The Star in April 2014 after a 30-year career, mostly as an investigative reporter. He then joined KCPT as a projects reporter for the Hale Center for Journalism. He also covered Midwestern agriculture and agribusiness for NPR and KCUR’s Harvest Public Media.

His projects and occasional columns continued to appear in The Star.

“Mick was perhaps the best reporter in the history of The Star, and that’s really saying something when you consider all the exceptional journalists who have worked here,” said Mike Fannin, The Star’s editor and vice president. “This I can say for sure: He was a hero to many people in this newsroom, myself included.”

The Kansas City area native, whom many affectionately called Mick, died in hospice care, surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ruth, their two sons, Andy and John, and four grandsons.

McGraw was a true professional and “real-life legend,” said Mark Zieman, vice president of operations for the McClatchy Co. and former editor and publisher of The Star.

“He could investigate you, expose your secret wrongdoings, have you arrested and sent to jail, ruin your life, and you’d still take his phone call,” Zieman said. “His reporting won nearly every major award our industry bestows. But more important, his investigations bettered the lives of thousands of people, in Kansas City and across America — people who in many cases were victims and voiceless and had no hope for justice until Mick came along.”