Eugene Methvin is the son and grandson of a Georgia newspaper family. He was born in Vienna, Ga., where his parents published a country weekly, The Vienna News. As a small child, Methvin began his journalism education by sleeping on a bale of newsprint every Thursday night while his parents met the weekly deadline. Later he studied at the University of Georgia School of Journalism. On campus he lettered in football and debate, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He did postgraduate study at the University of Georgia School of Law.
After graduation he spent three years in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot flying F-86 and F-102 all-weather interceptors. In 1958 he joined the Washington Daily News and in 1960 he joined the Reader's Digest Washington bureau where he is a senior editor.
An article by Methvin in the January '65 Reader's Digest, "How the Reds Make a Riot," won the magazine the coveted award for public service in magazine journalism awarded annually by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Methvin was the prime author of a series of hard-hitting Reader's Digest articles in 1970-72 that played a key role in shaping the federal government's war on organized crime which in part led to enactment of The Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. Attorney General John Mitchell sent him a pen used by President Nixon to sign the bill, expressing the Administration's gratitude "for the part you played in bringing this important crime legislation into being." Ironically, three years later it was this law's limited testimonial immunity provision that enabled the Senate Watergate Committee to compel White House Counsel John Dean to testiry, leading ultimately to Mitchell's subsequent imprionsment and President Nixon's resignation.
Methvin has written two books, The Riot Makers-The Technology of Social Demolition (1970) and The Rise of Radicalism-The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism (1973). He has lectured frequently and widely on journalism, law enforcement, constitutional law, mass manipulation, terrorism and the technology of social demolition.
Methvin has reported on the American criminal justice system for more than 40 years. The late Marvin Wolfgang, dean of American criminologists and past president and fellow of the American Society of Criminology, wrote of Methvin, "No journalist or reporter knows more about criminology." In 1983 President Reagan named Methvin as one of the 19 members of the President's Commission on Organized Crime. Methvin supervised the commission's investigation and hearing on labor-management racketeering.
In 1995 the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named Methvin to its "Hall of Fame" for "exemplary professional achievements, outstanding service to other members of the profession, and lifelong dedication to the highest standards of journalism."