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Other View: Las Vegas loses a crucial investigative reporter

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Jeff German on the Strip in Las Vegas on June 2, 2021.
K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS
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Investigative reporters are crucial checks on both government and the citizenry. They have dwindled greatly in supply in an era when many journalistic outlets are facing declining revenues and other now-infamous struggles.

This is especially true in large, local markets like Las Vegas where enough chicanery goes on to keep an army of such reporters busy.

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But the ranks of Las Vegas investigative reporters had already been diminished before Jeff German of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was found dead with stab wounds outside his Las Vegas home on Saturday morning. Police told his newspaper they believed he was in “an altercation with another person” and that the cause of his death was homicide.

German was a highly experienced and atypically visible investigative journalist with more than 30 years on the job at both the Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun. Among his high-profile work was a famed investigation into the death of the Chicago-born racketeer Herbert “Fat Herbie” Blitzstein who was shot in his home in 1997 in what was widely assumed to be a mob hit, given that Blitzstein long was associated with the so-called Chicago Outfit in Las Vegas.

At the time of writing, at least, there is no evidence that any particular past story was involved in German’s alleged murder. (Editor's note: Since that time, a government official and past subject of German's investigative stories has been arrested on murder charges.)

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Like all great career investigative reporters, he brought decades of stories to light, even as some would have preferred the facts to stay hidden. The alleged crime may even have had nothing to do with what he did for a living. But his death still is a reminder of the dangers faced by journalists within U.S. borders, as well as beyond.

©2022 Chicago Tribune
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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