C.J. LeMaster

C.J. LeMaster

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jackson, MS

C.J. LeMaster has served as WLBT’s Chief Investigative Reporter since April 2016.

Since then, he’s exposed problems with the Hinds County criminal justice system, highlighted potential secrecy regarding unethical conduct among Mississippi educators, revealed a prison extortion scheme that stretched across the state and investigated municipalities which violated state law by keeping documents from the public.

In one case, the Mississippi Ethics Commission ruled the city of Jackson violated the state's public records act by denying WLBT settlement agreements executed by the city as part of a 3 On Your Side investigation into the spending of taxpayer dollars.

Most recently, exclusive information uncovered during a 3 On Your Side investigation into recent deadly officer-involved shootings and a lack of transparency by the Jackson Police Department helped lead to a reversal in a decades-old city policy that once prevented the release of the names of officers responsible in those shootings.

You can check out C.J.'s latest investigative pieces here.

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. In 2018, C.J.'s investigative piece, 3 On Your Side Investigates: 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.

In addition, several of C.J.’s stories warranted national coverage: among them, the active shooter situation at Delta State University, 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, call the 3 On Your Side Investigates Line at 769-2300-TIP.

Awards:

  • 2018 Emmy Nomination, Best Investigative Report
  • 2018 Excellence in my Market Award, Best Investigative Report
  • 2017 AP Award, Best Investigative Report (Third Place)
  • 2014 AP Award, Best Spot News
  • 2013 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
  • 2013 AP Award, Achievement
  • 2013 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
  • 2012 AP Award, Achievement
  • 2012 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
  • 2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
  • 2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
  • 2012 AP Award, Spot News Story
  • 2011 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
  • 2010 AP Award, Best Feature Story
  • 2004 Emmy Nomination, First Down on FOX – WLOV-TV

Education:

  • Mississippi State University, Broadcasting/Public Relations

Recent Articles by C.J.

  Exclusive: Negotiations underway for state to acquire two hotels, defunct restaurant near Jackson fairgrounds

  Council punts on chance to question EPA about emergency order

  Acting U.S. Attorney shares his efforts to help reduce crime in the Capital City

Greta Bully rejects plea deal, clearing way for murder trial in coming months

Analysis: COVID-19 vaccinations in Miss. plunge more than 60 percent over last five weeks

  Banks: Council ready to take action on overtime funding, grant matches following Tuesday crime summit

  After tornadoes sweep through Hinds County, residents remain concerned over lack of safe rooms

  Experts: Two tornadoes touch down inside radar blind spot caused by Brandon water tower

  Fondren restaurant owners say protesters keep harassing their customers without fear of arrest

  Jackson residents, business owners beyond frustrated with water system issues

Jamichael Jackson, 28

  Vernon Hartley defeats longtime incumbent Jackson councilman for Ward 5 seat

  Exclusive: Video shows dozens street racing while Jackson patrol officer watches

  Council members mum on whether Jackson Zoo should be moved

David Archie found not guilty of simple domestic violence

  City of Jackson ramps up demolition of dilapidated homes

  ‘It was a very tough decision’: ZoOceanarium pulls out of talks with Jackson

  One dead, another injured after shots fired into car

  Vandalized I-55 billboard targets ‘killer cops’ with profanity, references justice for George Floyd

  With weekly COVID cases increasing slightly in Miss., vaccine hesitancy remains a concern

  WATCH: Man aims gun at Rankin Co. drivers; arrested for disorderly conduct

  Confrontation between former campaign staffer and Jackson mayoral candidate turns physical

  Jackson councilman proposes ‘cease fire’ as killings continue

  Exclusive: New details revealed in abuse investigation of five-year-old child

  Man dead after shooting outside convenience store

Jaquan Williams, 21

  Reeves to Biden: Trust governors to govern their states

Thomas Darrell Bradley, 45

Kenland Thompson, 20

  MSDH issues last-minute guidelines for worship services ahead of Easter Sunday