C.J. LeMaster has served as an Investigative Reporter since April 2016.
Since then, he’s uncovered misleading crime statistics from the Jackson Police Department, exposed a Rankin County elected official’s drunken behavior hours before he would face a felony rape charge, revealed a prison extortion scheme that stretched across the state and helped uncover misspending in Hinds County that led to the conviction of three people and the removal of an election commissioner from public office.
In one case prompted by C.J.’s investigations, the Mississippi Ethics Commission ruled the city of Jackson violated the Mississippi Public Records Act so egregiously, it levied the largest fine in state history against the municipality for failing to produce public records to the station for months, even years in some cases.
Most recently, exclusive information uncovered during his 3 On Your Side investigation into Jackson’s water crisis with Anthony Warren ended with the city firing the whistleblower in the case and demoting its public works director, who would later resign.
Before coming to the Capital City as a reporter and weekend anchor in December 2013, C.J. worked at WTVA/WLOV in Tupelo, Mississippi, for nearly a decade in several roles, some of that while pursuing a broadcast journalism degree from Mississippi State.
After graduation, he got hired as a reporter there and then went on to anchor some of the station’s top-rated newscasts.
C.J. was raised in Booneville, where he began his journalism career at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He worked in both print and television during his time in college.
Over the years, C.J. has received more than a dozen Mississippi Associated Press awards ranging from photography to public affairs reporting and achievement. Since he has been the station's lead investigative reporter, he's received nineteen awards for that work alone. In 2018, C.J.’s investigative piece Access Denied won Best Investigative Report in the Southeast Regional Emmy’s Excellence in my Market Awards, where journalists from television markets across five states compete. That same year, judges with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized his investigative work on that story with an Emmy nomination. He has been the recipient of the First Amendment Award of Excellence for four years in a row, which highlights his dogged use of public records in investigations.
In addition, several of C.J.’s stories warranted national coverage: among them, a three-part series on the history of the Jackson water crisis, the historic April 2011 tornado outbreak and a 2013 ricin investigation that implicated a Mississippi man in a plot to poison President Barack Obama.
When he’s not working, C.J. enjoys finding new restaurants in central Mississippi and exploring the area with a camera to support his photography habit.
If you have something you want C.J. to look into, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.