Journalists Should Admire and Remember Jeff German

German worked to uncover the truth. (Courtesy of Twitter)

German worked to uncover the truth. (Courtesy of Twitter)

On Sept. 3, 2022, Jeff German, a famed old school Las Vegas journalist, was murdered at his home, allegedly by a local politician who German had been reporting on. German was known for his hard-hitting stories that did not shy away from putting celebrities, big corporations and even the mob in the spotlight for their wrongdoings. Many people saw him as a saving grace in the journalism world as he had not let money or fame get the better of him. German always sought the truth and worked hard to give the public what they deserved: the full, unbiased story. 

German decided to unearth the story about the toxic work environment of Robert Telles, the boss of a small public administration department that dealt with the estates of the deceased. Multiple employees explained that Telles was a bully who made it his mission in the office to degrade and make people feel uncomfortable. 

German’s exposé was published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but it was far from earth-shattering. The story barely made any ripples, except in Telles’ life when he lost his Democratic primary election. Telles went online to lament how German’s piece was full of lies and had caused him to lose the election. Following these enraged posts, it is believed that Telles went to German’s house where he allegedly stabbed German to death.

Telles’ DNA was found at the crime scene, and the outfit worn by the perpetrator in the security footage was found in Telles’ car. There has not been a murder weapon recovered yet, and Telles has still not entered his plea. 

The mundaneness of this exposé, relative to all the other pieces that German had written in his long career, is what is most striking. German had written pieces about mob bosses and major Las Vegas businesses, some of which led to arrests or lawsuits following their publication. The story about Telles did not even make front pages of the news, so it was shocking to everyone when German was murdered.

German was given the title of “an old-school journalist” mainly because he stuck to hard facts and pursued stories to the end. This should not be an ideal of the past, but still what journalists should be striving for today. German did not seek to support a political group with his work or only tell one side of the story. He sought the truth. Although this idea sounds straightforward, it’s what ultimately might have led to his death. The individuals German wrote about were benefiting from hiding in the shadows, while others suffered because of their acts. 

The threat of truth to the morally corrupt is the driving force behind taking down free press. Our society has become polarized through politics with the media largely being controlled by big players, who alone benefit from the skewed stories told. German challenged this on many levels, Telles being a fairly small one. And yet, this tragedy points to how the polarization of American society has brought us to where we are now. The truth is something to be undermined now and seen as a threat to politicians when in reality it’s what they should be striving for the most. For example, former president Donald Trump’s posts after the 2020 election that the election was rigged, led to so much rage, and can even be pointed toward the violence seen at the Capitol on Jan.  6, that many people are disillusioned into believing the U.S. currently has an illegitimate president. 

German paid the consequence of truth. He pushed back against a government trying to silence him. His heroism through his stories and uncovering of the facts will be his legacy to aspiring journalists. His “old fashioned” way of journalism should be the revival of journalism now. A fight for truth, transparency and trust between our government and society is what should prevail from this catastrophe. No one should be able to silence truth and the voice of reason. However, we find ourselves in a position where this is our reality.