Review-Journal fields veteran investigative team

Updated September 18, 2017 - 12:27 am

The Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative team was nothing more than a job advertisement 16 months ago.

Now, with last month’s hiring of investigative reporter Anita Hassan from the Houston Chronicle, the six-person team is complete.

Assistant Managing Editor for Investigations Karisa King joined the Review-Journal from the Chicago Tribune a year ago after a national search for a team leader. King said the reporting team she has assembled will hold accountable Southern Nevada’s most powerful institutions by weaving together data analysis, hard-hitting interviews and compelling storytelling.

“I think Las Vegas, this community, is ripe for investigative work,” King said. “At a time when a lot of newspapers are dismantling investigative units due to a lack of resources, the Review-Journal has made a significant new commitment to accountability journalism.”

The team

Hassan joins fellow investigative reporters Alexander Cohen, a data reporter formerly of the nonprofit Investigating Reporting Workshop at American University; Brian Joseph, a veteran of several newspapers and nonprofit news organizations in California; Arthur Kane, who spent the past 16 years writing and editing investigations in Denver; and Jeff German, who has been reporting in Las Vegas — most recently on federal courts for the Review-Journal — for close to 40 years.

“The RJ is Nevada’s largest newspaper and most-read media entity, So it is important for our readers, and the state, that we field a sizable team of first-rate, veteran, investigative reporters,” Keith Moyer, Review-Journal editor-in-chief, said.

“The team’s mission is to identify and right wrongs where they exist and keep the public apprised of wrongdoing, within government, or elsewhere,” Moyer said. “With our team of six award-winning journalists, we can work on multiple important stories simultaneously.”

The formation of the team represents the Review-Journal’s biggest-ever commitment to investigative journalism, Managing Editor Glenn Cook said.

Agency’s questionable spending

This year the investigative team already has published a series of stories uncovering questionable spending of taxpayer dollars by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The expenditures included millions of dollars for lavish entertainment services and scores of rides for CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman by LVCVA security officers.

German said he had wanted to put the LVCVA under the microscope for some time. It was his reporting in 2005 that revealed Ralenkotter sold the convention authority’s globally recognized slogan, “What happens here, stays here,” to advertising agency R&R Partners for $1.

“This was, for me, an ideal opportunity to take another look,” German said.

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