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Veteran Newswoman Vi Murphy Dies of Cancer

December 1, 1987

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) _ Vi Murphy, a veteran newswoman who was one of the first journalists ever jailed for refusing to reveal a source, has died of cancer. She was 63.

Ms. Murphy, who recently lived in San Diego, died Sunday at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, where she had been undergoing treatment for lyphoma cancer, her daughter, Susan Murphy, said Monday.

Vi Murphy was a newspaper reporter for 30 years, beginning her career in Colorado. She worked for the Denver Post and later the Gazette Telegraph in Colorado Springs.

In the summer of 1960, she did a series on judicial corruption in the Colorado Springs court system. One of the judges called her before the bench and asked for sources and documentation.

When she refused to divulge them, she was held in contempt of court and jailed. She was imprisoned for 30 days in a stand that landed her on the cover of Life Magazine that year.

According to Life, Ms. Murphy was the first person to go to jail for refusing to disclose sources.

After her release, she worked in newspaper in Iowa and Illinois then came to San Diego Union in 1969, covering Mexico for the newspaper until her retirement in 1976.

She wrote free-lance articles for the Record Search Light newspaper in Redding and other publications before officially retiring last year, her daughter said.

Ms. Murphy is survived by three daughters, a son, two sisters, a brother and her mother.

A memorial service was planned for Tuesday at Christ King Church in Bakersfield.

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