Journalist Jeff German's Murder: Washington Post Picks Up Last Story
Journalist Jeff German's Murder: Washington Post Picks Up Last Story

Journalist Jeff German’s Murder: Washington Post Picks Up Last Story

Jeff German excelled in his capacity as an investigative journalist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The seasoned journalist has covered courts, politics, the administration, organized crime, and more since arriving there in 2010. German, 69, has no intentions to retire, according to Glenn Cook, executive editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I would argue that he was as productive and impactful in his last ten years, 12 years with us than he was at any other point in his career,” Cook said. “This was a 69-year-old man who was a model reporter in our newsroom in terms of his productivity and the impact of his work.”

Then, German was discovered dead outside his house in early September 2022. The accomplished journalist’s murder rocked the Las Vegas and larger journalism communities by stabbing.

The Review-Journal extensively covered his murder. At the time, Robert Telles, the Clark County public administrator, was detained and accused of German’s passing.

The Washington Post reported on the story, just as other major media. A few editors started talking to each other about helping the Review-Journal. Cook’s contact was made by Craig Timberg, senior editor for joint investigations at the Post. On September 8, Timberg sent an email expressing sympathy and offered support on behalf of the major newspaper.

“We’ve been discussing internally whether we can support you and your staff in some useful way, aside from covering the events as they happen,” read Timberg’s email, which he shared with Poynter. “The most obvious idea — to us anyway — would be to lend reporting resources to the story or stories German was pursuing, in collaboration with The Review-Journal.”

Timberg’s email landed in Cook’s inbox the day after Telles was arrested on suspicion of German’s murder. At the time, Cook said his staff was covering this “warp speed breaking news story” while grieving the murder of their colleague.

Journalist Jeff German's Murder: Washington Post Picks Up Last Story

“My initial reaction to Craig’s email was just overwhelming gratitude. I never expected to see anything like that,” Cook said. “We felt and were lifted by the messages of support that we had received from colleagues all over the world — and we will always treasure those messages of support that we received. But Craig’s offer was unique.”

The following day, Cook replied to Timberg and promised to get in touch. A few weeks later, he sent Timberg links to four articles the Review-Journal had written about a purported Ponzi scheme that preyed on the Mormon community there. Cook informed Poynter that the publication had covered just the early stages.

“Jeff German knew that this story was significant to me, that I had flagged it for leaders in our organization and said, ‘Hey, this is one of the biggest and most important stories we can share with our readership, and we need to prioritize this,'” Cook said. “Jeff was on it at the time that he was murdered.”

Later, Cook and Timberg spoke on the phone about the incident. The rest of the Review-Journal employees couldn’t access it now that German was gone. Though he hadn’t been very far, he could use some assistance picking up the newspaper.

We replied, “Sure, we’d love to,” Timberg recalled.

Local enterprise and projects editor Lynda Robinson and Timberg, responsible for establishing and managing partnerships between The Washington Post and other publications, met in the hallway.

Take a look at the tweet:

We’re thinking about doing it to honor Jeff German in Las Vegas, I told Lynda, and I’ve got this wonderful anecdote.

Lizzie Johnson, an enterprise reporter for the Washington Post, was wrapping up another piece when her editor, Robinson, called. She was informed that the publication had spoken with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Johnson was then asked if she would be interested in continuing a project German had started before he was slain.

“At first, the concept overwhelmed me because, I mean, it’s so profound, right? Is there anything more meaningful than continuing to carry on someone else’s legacy? Johnson remarked. “But I was aware it was crucial, so I felt compelled to accept. There isn’t another response. That’s what started the whole affair.

Johnson recalls leaving the airport after arriving in Nevada for the first time and stopping for a coffee. She quickly changed in the restroom before going to the newsroom of the Las Vegas Review-Journal to meet Rhonda Prast, German’s editor, and his coworkers.

When she noticed German’s desk, she grabbed a few folders containing information for investigating the purported Ponzi scheme with hundreds of victims.

She remarked, “Mainly, I wanted to get a feel for who he (German) was and what it was like there.

Johnson claimed that meeting the staff of the Review-Journal was challenging. She claimed, “He had just passed away, and it was sudden and violent.” And, based on my impression, they were still in shock over his departure.

Johnson recalled what they had told him about German, including how much he cherished his work and colleagues and served as an excellent role model for aspiring journalists. They also informed her about “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas,” a true-crime podcast that German hosted.

“And after I left the newsroom, I put it on my car speaker and listened to it as I was driving all around Las Vegas,” she said. “And I got to know him through that podcast, too.”

According to Johnson, German set her up with the Ponzi story. In a brief memo to his editor, he had made general statements about what he hoped to accomplish. He was going to start sifting through court documents. Johnson started in the same way.

“There were so many points along the way where — after a hard interview or after reading 100 pages of court filings in a morning — I would take a second to breathe, and my mind would wander back to him and wonder, ‘Well, how would Jeff do this? What would Jeff be thinking about this?'” Johnson said. “He was always on my mind as I was doing this, and I think that made it all the more meaningful, right?”

Check out some other new content we’ve published:

Johnson was paired with Review-Journal photographer/videographer Rachel Aston. “Rachel was incredible,” Johnson said. “She and I talked all the time and went back and forth as the story developed. When you’re reporting something like this, you’re looking backward trying to understand what happened, but you’re also looking forward, watching as things unravel.”

As a result, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Washington Post published in-depth analyses of the purported scam last week. Readers are thrust into a stressful situation when the FBI aarrivesat Las Vegas lawyer Matthew Beasley’s door through the story’s lede Officials had long suspected him and his business partner, Jeffrey Judd, of operating a scheme that primarily targeted Mormons, the report claims (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

“The investment was pitched as a nearly risk-free opportunity to earn annual returns of 50 percent by lending money to slip-and-fall victims awaiting checks after the settlement of their lawsuits,” Johnson wrote in the story. “There was just one problem, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged in a civil complaint. None of it was real.”

Readers hear about the alleged scheme’s origins, per court documents, and get to know some of the victims, including Ann Mabeus, a divorcee and lone parent of four who was in financial difficulty and facing eviction.

Aston, who wasn’t close to German but described him as invaluable to the community, said she enjoyed working with Johnson. “I’m proud of what it came to be in the end,” Aston said.

Regarding Johnson’s reporting, executive editor Cook of the Review-Journal commented, “I was blown away by the work she had done.” And it was particularly heartbreaking because it was far beyond my hopes for what we could accomplish with this story. I would give anything to have Jeff’s byline on that rather than Lizzie’s. Still, because Jeff is no longer with us, Lizzie’s desire and enthusiasm to complete Jeff’s final story were extraordinarily emotional.

Cook claimed that it gave him another sense of closure. He continued, “I honestly understood they felt the same from our newsroom.

Aston claimed that after the piece appeared concurrently on the websites of both publications, she heard from some of her Review-Journal coworkers who felt it was excellent work. Everyone responded, “Yes. We are finishing the story that Jeff started because he would say, “Damn right, you better complete it.” You get what I’m saying? Therefore, I consider it an honor that we may carry on the initiatives he started.

On the day the story was published, Cook tweeted the link with this accompanying note: “Hard to express appropriate gratitude to @washingtonpost for their offer of help after the murder of Jeff German. He had just started working on this story when he was killed.” The Review-Journal also published an editorial publicly thanking The Washington Post.

When Johnson was initially requested to take over German’s probe, she didn’t hesitate, according to Johnson.

“I think that anytime someone dies — whether it’s someone in our family, a friend, or a colleague — you always worry that they’re going to be forgotten. And so the best thing you can do is keep their memory alive,” she said. “There’s nothing more meaningful for a journalist than to keep their work going and to keep people remembering why they loved this career field, why it mattered, and shining light in dark places. So I knew I had to do that for Jeff.”

Cook claimed that the Las Vegas Review-Journal staff could not mourn their colleague’s passing healthily. He explained how disclosing the specifics of his murder and what transpired allowed him to express his rage and sadness. He believes that the organization is currently in a good place.

“The loss of a colleague and the murder of a journalist is unbelievably awful. It has been noticeable (in) the last five months since he’s been gone,” Cook said. “Just not seeing Jeff German bylines in the Review-Journal anymore is a terrible consequence of his killing. And so Lizzie ensured that the last story he was working on didn’t die with him.”

About Lionel Holmes 1849 Articles
Lionel Holmes is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering Technology  news – specifically startups. He has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years. Lionel goal with this website is to report accurately on all kinds of stock news, and have a great deal of passion for Finance and active reporting. Lionel is diligent and proactive when it comes to Technology news reporting.

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