IRE’s Don Bolles Medal Awarded to Slain Las Vegas Reporter Jeff German

From Investigative Reporters and Editors:

IRE’s Don Bolles Medal for 2023 has been awarded posthumously to Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who was killed in September 2022 in apparent retaliation for his reporting on a local public official.

The Don Bolles Medal recognizes investigative journalists who have exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance.

“Jeff German was undaunted in his pursuit of accountability journalism,” said IRE President Mark Walker. “In recognizing him with the Don Bolles Medal, we honor his dedication to dogged persistence in the face of intimidation and hostility, and his fearless drive to get the job done.

“His spirit lives on in all of us who believe in the power of investigative journalism.”

German, 69, whose career in Las Vegas spanned four decades, was found stabbed to death outside his home on September 3, 2022. At the time, Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook called German “the gold standard of the news business.”

“It’s hard to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today without his many years of shining a bright light on dark places,” Cook added.

German joined the Review-Journal in 2010 after more than two decades at the Las Vegas Sun. During his career, German repeatedly uncovered government corruption and exposed the misdeeds of Sin City’s most notorious mob figures.

“In recent years, his reporting exposed failures in city inspections before the deadly Alpine Motel Apartments fire in 2019; claims of bullying, hostility and mismanagement at the Clark County’s public administrator’s office; and extremist activity in Southern Nevada,” the Review-Journal reported.

Then-Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles was charged with German’s murder and is awaiting trial.

Former IRE Board member Phil Williams, who led the effort to create the Don Bolles Medal and has spearheaded the nomination process, said the selection of Jeff German sends a message that the murder of investigative journalists can never be taken for granted.

“While this posthumous honor will not bring back Jeff German, it will help ensure that his sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Williams said.

“His murder is a reminder of the risks that come with the dedication to expose wrongdoing that public officials and others would like to keep hidden, and it serves as a reminder of the everyday heroism of investigative journalists all around the world.”

The Don Bolles Medal was created in 2017 in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Arizona Project, an effort led by IRE to finish the work of Don Bolles. The Arizona Republic investigative reporter was killed in 1976 by a car bomb in retaliation for his reporting.

Bolles’ death came a few days before the first national IRE conference in Indianapolis, where the veteran reporter had been scheduled to speak on a panel. At the time, Bolles had been investigating allegations of land fraud involving prominent politicians and individuals with ties to organized crime.

After his murder, nearly 40 journalists from across the country descended on Arizona to complete his investigation. News organizations across the country published their findings.

Their message: Efforts to suppress the truth will be met by even greater efforts from the rest of the journalism community to tell it.

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