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.

  Jackson homicides surge 17 percent over last year, but lack of data gives incomplete crime picture

  Dobbs: Decline in COVID cases could be short-lived; some clinics aren’t reporting test results

  Exclusive: Analysis shows two deadliest months in Jackson’s history took place this year

Demarkis Kelly, 21

  Exclusive: Documents show why radio host remained behind bars a full day after posting bond

  Fact-check reveals what Hinds Co. supervisor got right & wrong in explosive presser

  Reeves: Mississippi doesn’t need another shutdown to curb COVID-19

  Gov. Reeves says he used week-old coronavirus case data to determine hot spots, mask mandates

Mario Cookes, 21

Yatcey Estell, 36

  Analysis: Half of Miss. counties could face mask mandates, coronavirus-related restrictions

Stephanie O’Neal, Unknown Age

Stephen Darrell Clark Jr., 28

  As COVID-19 hospitalizations climb, Jackson hospital shares its plan for dealing with pandemic

  Three of thirteen counties initially hit with mask mandates show downward trend of coronavirus cases

  Experts: Brandon’s new water tower blocks crucial weather radar data; mayor disagrees

Jabari Peterson, 29

Damien Horton, 35

  Reeves responds to White House task force report singling out 52 Miss. counties for COVID-19 increases

Tramaine Green, 26

  Inside UMMC’s COVID units, emotional toll weighs on health care workers as state’s hospital system struggles

  Miss. lawmaker’s social media post citing coronavirus statistics ‘not accurate,' state health officer says

  Analysis: 11 more Mississippi counties could face mask mandates, restrictions soon

James Curtis Haley, 40

  Local school boards -- not MDE -- will approve, oversee pandemic reopening plans

Anthony Beasley, 14

  Reeves: County mask mandates reduced COVID spread, but won’t work statewide

Vincent Kennedy, 17

In Mississippi, wearing a mask while carrying concealed isn’t against state law

Anthony Harvey, 33