About Don Ray
Don Ray is the multimedia investigative reporter/producer/author who is the Executive Director/CEO of The Endangered History Project, Inc., a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The literary and educational organization’s mission is to preserve for future generations all forms of media that document the generations that lived in the 20th and 21st centuries. It focuses on producing documentaries, publishing books and educating others and empowering them to preserved the media that will otherwise vanish.
Don Ray has worked as a segment producer for Dateline NBC, “Inside Edition,” Disney’s “The Crusaders,” Public Broadcasting System, KCBS-TV, KCAL-TV, KNBC-TV, KAET-TV and more. His investigative news service provided information-gathering support for “60 Minutes,” “Frontline,” “20/20,” “West 57th,” and all of the network news programs and all of the Los Angeles affiliates. He is the award-winning journalist who first broke the story of the child molestation investigation of singer Michael Jackson, and many other stories.
He is the author of six books on topics including interviewing for broadcast, writing, investigative techniques, document interpretation and checking out lawyers. He was the editor in chief of three newspapers, staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily Journal and freelance contributor to the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Orange County Register, San Bernardino Sun, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways, Tables Magazine, Special Report Magazine and many others.
Don Ray was a senior instructor at UCLA Extension for 12 years. He taught investigative reporting, television news writing & production, broadcast writing and interviewing for broadcast. He also taught journalism at California State University at Los Angeles, Columbia College and Excelsior Education Center. He has been a guest lecturer at dozens of colleges and universities and has presented to thousands of journalists and journalism students at conferences around the world.
In particular, Don Ray has trained journalists in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malawi, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Poland, Serbia and the Ukraine. He has reported from Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Thailand, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos and other countries.
Don Ray was born in Hollywood and grew up in Burbank. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as a combat dog handler in 1968 and 1969, and at two nuclear missile sites in and around Detroit in 1970. After his discharge, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier and then as a U.S. Postal Police Officer before becoming a mail fraud examiner for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
He graduated from California State University, Northridge, as a journalism major with collateral studies in political science. He also received his A.A. degree from Los Angeles Pierce College. He studied television reporting at USC in 1979.
He has won awards for his investigative stories of Barry Minkow and his ZZZZ Best Carpet Cleaning scam, for his in-depth series, “Homeless in the High Desert,” for his participation in an investigation into oil price fixing in the 1970s and for the radio documentary, “Boiler Room Bandits.”
Don Ray lives in Burbank with is Chinese-born wife and stepson — and his two dogs.