Jeff German is remembered as a hard-hitting Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter, stabbed to death outside his home this month at age 69, while continuing to dig up important stories, as he had his entire career.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles has been arrested in the killing. German had written stories about Telles, exposing bullying and other complaints against the 45-year-old public official, who recently lost a re-election bid.
In the aftermath, German has been remembered for his work, including in online posts by respected organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
I remember German for his work, too, but also for much more.
Jeff German: Tireless Reporter
Working with German, as I did at the Las Vegas Sun, provided valuable insight, just by watching him, into how to compile and compose news stories.
What stood out was his competitiveness and wide network of sources.
German had great sources who tipped him off to one major story after another. These sources knew they could trust him with background information and to keep their names out of it.
He turned these tips into legitimate scoops, not the gossip sometimes masquerading as news on social media sites, but verified, nailed-down blockbusters.
Many of these major stories uncovered state and local corruption, making life more equitable for everyday Nevadans and those on the margins.
This work was the result of German’s news instincts and high standards.
He was nonpartisan. He knew how to dig out documents. He stuck to facts, and he worked hard to balance stories.
German’s Loyalty and Fun were Great Personal Traits
A few years ago, I went to lunch at the Palm in Caesars Palace with my friend Steve Sebelius of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
On the wall we saw portraits of different Las Vegans, including German. His smiling expression in the portrait reminds me of his personal side.
This personal side includes not only his loyalty to friends, but also his laughter and sense of fun.
I remember him rounding up others in the newsroom on Fridays after work to shoot pool at the PT’s Pub at Rainbow and Alta west of downtown.
The signed inscription in my copy of his book, “Murder in Sin City,” includes the phrase he would use to round us up. The inscription reads, “Let’s go, PT’s!”
‘Digging Up Stories’ was German’s Passion
German’s book, published in 2001, examines the suspicious death of former downtown Las Vegas casino boss Ted Binion.
Because it’s in book format, “Murder in Sin City” is one of German’s deeper dives into a big story.
But there were many more, whether in the newspaper or other platforms.
One of his latest was a multi-part podcast, “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas,” produced by the Review-Journal and Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
The podcast explores organized crime’s influence at the Aladdin hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. That site now is occupied by the Planet Hollywood resort.
Researched and narrated by German, the podcast is among the best pieces of reporting ever on the Mafia in Southern Nevada, along with the late journalist Ned Day’s 1987 KLAS-TV documentary “Mob on the Run.”
For me, that podcast and German’s other work call to mind the sentence he used in identifying himself on Twitter: “I’m a member of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s investigative team, and I love digging up stories.”
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