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Slain RJ investigative reporter Jeff German receives courage award

Slain Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German this week posthumously received one of the highest honors given by the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.

German, a longtime reporter who was fatally stabbed in 2022 after years of covering high-profile stories in Las Vegas — from organized crime to corrupt politicians — was awarded the Frank McCulloch Award for Courage in Journalism on Monday.

“We feel privileged to honor Jeff German’s dedication to journalism with this award,” Gi Yun, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism, said in a statement Thursday. “German’s career exemplifies what it means to defend the truth. His contributions to Nevada’s press freedom will live within us for a long time.”

German was the award’s sixth honoree and the first to receive it posthumously. The award was established in 2010 by Frank McCulloch, one of the most distinguished graduates in the school’s 102-year history, according to Alan Stavitsky, a former dean and current faculty member at the school.

McCulloch, a 1941 graduate from Fernley, Nevada, covered the Vietnam War on the front lines and worked as a newspaper editor during his 50-year journalism career, earning a reputation as a top investigative reporter before he died in 2018 at age 98, Stavitsky said.

The Frank McCulloch Award honors professional journalists who have demonstrated courage by resisting intimidation and overcoming considerable obstacles in their reporting, he said.

When German was found stabbed to death in his yard in September 2022, faculty at the school were shaken, Stavitsky said. The faculty quickly and unanimously decided he should be the next recipient of the award, he said.

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was arrested in connection with German’s slaying. German had reported on dysfunction in Telles’ office, and Telles subsequently lost his bid for re-election.

German exemplified what McCulloch wished to honor with the courage award, Stavitsky said. “Here you had a distinguished journalist who showed courage at the end and pursued the story where it led, even … at the cost of his life.”

Glenn Cook, executive editor of the Review-Journal, said it means a lot that a Nevada institution would recognize German, his career and the sacrifice he made.

The Reynolds School of Journalism made it clear the award wasn’t given to German solely because he was killed, Cook said, but because German showed great courage throughout his entire career.

“The hallmark of Jeff’s entire career was his courageousness,” he said. “It took an exceptional amount of bravery to cover organized crime in Las Vegas for many years and to take on stories about really bad people, hardened criminals, people accused of doing terrible things, and to write about those people fearlessly.”

German received a swath of honors and awards before and after his death, including the 2023 National Press Club President’s Award and the Don Bolles Medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

On Monday, Cook and Benjamin Lipman, the Review-Journal’s chief legal officer, accepted the award on German’s behalf in front of students at an introduction to journalism class.

“I thought that was a really nice touch because Jeff really enjoyed interacting with young journalists and loved talking to them about what they were working on,” Cook said. “And so I thought that was really appropriate. I thought Jeff would approve.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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