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National Press Club honors slain reporter Jeff German, Lizzie Johnson

Updated August 2, 2023 - 7:52 pm

Slain Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German is being honored posthumously with another prestigious journalism award.

German and Washington Post reporter Lizzie Johnson are the 2023 recipients of the National Press Club’s President’s Award, the club announced Tuesday.

“This year the President’s Award at the National Press Club will help call attention to the outstanding career of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who was murdered outside his home in 2022,” National Press Club President Eileen O’Reilly said in a statement.

German, who spent four decades digging up stories about corruption, organized crime and Las Vegas’ most colorful characters, had left behind unfinished work when he was stabbed to death on Sept. 2.

Robert Telles, the then-Clark County public administrator who was the subject of German’s investigative reporting, was arrested days later and is charged with murder.

Among German’s works in progress was an investigation about a Ponzi scheme targeting Mormon communities.

After German’s slaying, The Washington Post reached out to the Las Vegas Review-Journal with an offer to help complete one of German’s unfinished stories. The Review-Journal, whose investigative team completed some of German’s other works in progress, welcomed the Post’s offer, and that’s when Johnson stepped in.

After reporting out the rest of the story, Johnson’s completed piece, which featured photos and video by Review-Journal photographer Rachel Aston, ran in both the Review-Journal and The Washington Post in early February.

Two newspapers working together to put out the unfinished work of a journalist who was allegedly killed because of his reporting sends an important message for press freedoms, said the the Washington, D.C.-based National Press Club, which advocates for press freedoms in the U.S. and worldwide.

“The idea that Jeff’s journalism would endure beyond his death is profoundly moving and hopefully a kind of deterrent to bad actors who think that a journalist’s work can be silenced through murder,” O’Reilly’s statement said. “Lizzie’s work and the spirit behind it is a strong and positive message for all in journalism.”

The award will be given at the National Press Club’s Awards Dinner on Aug. 30, the club said.

In June, German was posthumously awarded the Don Bolles Medal by Investigative Reporters and Editors. The medal was established in 2017 and is named after Don Bolles, the Arizona Republic investigative reporter killed by a car bomb in 1976 in retaliation for his reporting.

Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook will be at the dinner to receive the award on behalf of German.

“It’s hard to believe it has been almost a year since Jeff was taken from his family, friends and colleagues. He is greatly missed, and his murder remains an outrageous attack on journalism and press freedoms,” Cook said. “We remain grateful for Lizzie Johnson’s efforts completing Jeff’s work. And we thank the National Press Club for honoring them both.”

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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