Their colleague — longtime Review-Journal reporter Jeff German — had been found stabbed to death outside his suburban home on September 3.
Johnson, who works for The Washington Post, had flown in from Washington to finish the last story German had been working on.
When Johnson’s editor inquired if she was willing to undertake the inquiry, she “promptly agreed.”.
Telles, who is accused of committing homicide with a lethal instrument, was being closely monitored by German colleagues in the police investigation, while Johnson took over the coverage. She told VOA, “It is important to me that something is done to assist, as I felt honored to be asked to help with such a significant matter.”
The previous public administrator of Clark County had been the focus of German’s investigation into purported mismanagement in Telles’ office.
Telles, who had lost a reelection campaign in June, pleaded not guilty at an October hearing. The concluding narrative.
At the moment of his murder, German was working on a fresh narrative, concerning an alleged Ponzi scheme.
Johnson said, “He shouldn’t have wanted to die with him, and he didn’t get a chance to do the one story he wanted to do last.”
The narrative was ultimately published in the previous month: a joint effort between Johnson and Rachel Aston, a photographer from Review-Journal, and made available on the websites of both publications.
The investigations described how an alleged $500 million Ponzi scheme targeting Mormon investors concluded with an armed standoff at a desert mansion.
It was important for us to ensure that his stories were finished, and we were sure that his murder did not silence the legacy. However, it just wasn’t an honor for Jeff’s legacy to be ensured by Glenn Cook, the executive editor for the Journal’s Review.
According to CPJ’s 2021 figures, there was a significant rise in the number of media workers and journalists who were killed worldwide, with at least 67 fatalities reported.
Although the CPJ has recorded 14 instances in the U.S. Since the nonprofit began monitoring fatalities in 1992, the occurrence of journalist fatalities in the United States is infrequent.
Despite the completion of the Ponzi scheme narrative, German’s demise hinders him from narrating further stories, as stated by Cook.
“The public will not be able to obtain the types of stories that Jeff dedicated his professional life to reporting,” he stated.
Cook states that shield laws safeguard reporters from being compelled to reveal details such as the names of informants. German’s homicide is also exceptional due to its potential implications for shield laws, both within Nevada and nationwide.
As per the Review-Journal, the municipal authorities unlawfully seized German’s mobile phone, which may possibly hold confidential information, like the identities of undisclosed informants.
Following the judge’s denial of the request, the matter will now be brought before the Nevada Supreme Court. The media organization sought the intervention of a judge to enforce penalties on the local police department for their failure to notify the newspaper about the search conducted on German’s mobile phone in January.
Officials have declared that obtaining entry to the German’s devices is essential in order to understand the fundamental motives behind his act of homicide.
According to Cook, the situation poses a potential threat to making confidential sources reconsider speaking with the media.
Cook stated that he is unequivocally committed to ensuring that the preservation of the First Amendment remains Jeff’s lasting impact, rather than a detrimental legal precedent that undermines journalism on a global scale. He expressed his outrage and concern as a news organization, emphasizing that this situation not only jeopardizes press rights and freedoms but is further exacerbated by the tragic loss of a colleague through a heinous act of violence.
According to French reporter Laurent Richard, if journalists are killed, the stories they were working on remain unpublished unless other journalists take over to finish them.
In order to address this problem, he founded the non-profit organization Forbidden Stories, which brings together the stories of journalists who have been killed or incarcerated.
Richard, speaking to VOA from Paris, expressed concern that the lack of individuals carrying on the work of slain journalists poses a significant danger to democracy. Regardless of the location, the contributions of every reporter who has been killed should persist, be it in Las Vegas or Mexico City.
Richard stated that if a narrative remains unfinished, the murderer attains their desired outcome. “With the objective of combating impunity through cooperative journalism,” his organization is dedicated.
“It’s even detrimental to eliminate a journalist if you understand that others will regather and carry on with his work,” Richard stated.
The Post’s investigation into Johnson’s story meant that she had to balance the typical challenges of reporting with the reality that she was the only journalist assigned to the piece, resulting in the death of another journalist.
“There were times when I would feel overwhelmed if I allowed myself to dwell on it too much,” Johnson expressed.
“That’s truly burdensome,” she expressed, “The sole rationale for my involvement in this narrative is due to someone’s demise.” I would contemplate, “There were invariably these instances towards the conclusion of the day when I was finalizing and She endeavored to concentrate on locating sources and records.”
Exploring the newsroom in Las Vegas helped Johnson feel more linked to Germany.
She expressed, “Subsequently, it simply felt much more authentic. Consequently, I had the opportunity to witness how he arranged things. I had the opportunity to observe the desk on which he sat daily, and I had the opportunity to witness his handwriting. I was significantly nearer to him and nearer to his demise, I sensed.”
Johnson expressed her difficulty in finding the right words to express the significance she felt in contributing to the legacy of German.
She expressed, “That seems challenging. Moreover, it doesn’t appear justifiable for their efforts to perish along with them.” “We engage in this profession as we feel compelled to hold authority responsible and uncover misconduct,” considering the possibility that a reporter might lose their life while fulfilling that duty.
Cook stated that there was also a mix of emotions, but the Review-Journal newsroom was brimming with “immense satisfaction” when the article was ultimately released in the previous month.
“Cook said that having Jeff German as the byline at the top was something you longed for with great intensity, understanding that this was Jeff’s final article, which also carried a sense of seriousness.”