Investigative journalist and author George Jared to present at Arkansas State University

 Jared will discuss the need and importance of investigative journalism

Delta Digital News Service

By Avery Jones | Editor

JONESBORO, Ark. – Local journalist and author George Jared is set to deliver a presentation on investigative journalism at Arkansas State University in the auditorium of the Rent Student Union Center on Tuesday, February 7. The public event is from 6 to 8 pm and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Senate’s unanimous vote to create the select committee to investigate the Watergate break-in. 

As a journalist, Jared has been covering topics like crime, business, politics, government, healthcare, entertainment, and agriculture for nearly 20 years.

Journalist and Author George Jared

He has won several awards for his writings, including first place awards from the Associated Press Media Editors. He has also written novels, hosted podcasts, and been interviewed by a variety of newspapers and podcasts. Jared has given two presentations at CrimeCon, an immersive, weekend-long true crime convention that brings together thousands of fans of the genre.

He has written most extensively about the Rebekah Gould murder case and the West Memphis Three. The Gould case was featured in two of his books, The Creek Side Bones and Whispers in the Willows, as well as news articles. Jared wrote 100 articles about the West Memphis Three and chronicled his experiences in another book, Witches in West Memphis

Jared started his career as a journalist in 2004. He is a graduate of Lyon College with a major in history and a minor in political science. He originally thought he wanted to be a lawyer. 

He won awards participating in moot court during college and enjoyed it. However, he stated that he met “some miserable lawyers” and became disillusioned with the career. He always knew, though, that he wanted to be a writer of some kind.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Jared spent his childhood in Salem, Ore. as a kid, where he loved reading and writing. When he was a teenager, he lived in Salem, Ark., and wrote for the newspaper at his high school. 

After he graduated college, he started writing for the newspaper in Salem, Arkansas, then soon got a job with Gannett, where he worked for a year. However, he missed his former boss, David Cox, so he decided to return to Salem.

Unfortunately, there were no writing jobs available, so he had to take a sales job, and he wrote on the side. He worked in sales for a couple years, then took a writing job with the Jonesboro Sun.

In 2004, while working at the newspaper in Salem, Arkansas, he began covering the Rebekah Gould murder case from Melbourne, Arkansas. This would be the first murder case he would cover.

When Gould’s murderer, William Miller, confessed in 2020, he said that he hated Jared. He confessed on November 7, Jared’s birthday, and was in Cottage Grove, Oregon, near where Jared grew up. 

“That was very ironic for me,” Jared said.

Jared covered Miller’s trial in court. He was sitting with Dr. Gould, Rebekah Gould’s father, when Gould gave his victim impact statement. According to Jared, Miller didn’t look at Dr. Gould, but stared at Jared instead.

The case Jared has written about the most is the ‘West Memphis Three’. “That case has taken me all over the country and the world because of how insane it is,” he said. 

He interviewed Damien Echols on Death Row in 2010 and is still keeps in contact with him today. The pair ate dinner together in Memphis in June of last year.

He also interviewed Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims, who has been a suspect in the case. According to Jared, Hobbs rarely agrees to interviews. Jared recorded the interview over Zoom so that he could present the video at CrimeCon 2020, where it was analyzed by Jim Clemente, the executive producer of the TV show “Criminal Minds.”

While Jared’s investigative journalism has been a significant part of his career, he has reported on a variety of subjects. His areas of expertise are business, politics, entertainment, and even agriculture. He said that his favorite thing to write is feature stories.

Currently Jared writes for a company called Talk Business & Politics based in Little Rock, where he covers mostly business and politics in northeast Arkansas. A significant part of that is agriculture.

According to Jared, the Arkansas Farm Bureau told him that he’s the only reporter in the state who still covers subjects like soybeans, rice, and cotton. Jared can also sometimes be heard on early morning agriculture talk radio shows. 

He has also interviewed several high profile politicians such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R) , former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and has met a few presidents. He has done stories with celebrities like William Shatner, Barbara Eden, Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, and Natalie Maines.

Jared also interviewed Bob Dorough, famous jazz pianist and composer and performer of several Schoolhouse Rock! songs, a week before he died in 2018. Dorough was an Arkansas native, but had been all over the world. According to Jared, Dorough refused at first to do the interview with Jared, but called him not much later to take up the offer.

Jared wrote a series of articles about Holocaust survivors and included their stories in his book Whispers in the Willows. The Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, Arkansas, would host a Holocaust survivor for presentations once a year. 

Jared covered Henry Greenbaum and Estelle Laughlin. He had visited some concentration camps during college and admired Greenbaum’s story.

“That story ripped my guts out,” Jared said.

Today, Jared rarely writes crime stories for work since the newspaper he currently writes for doesn’t cover that. However, he’s currently partnering with a criminology professor named Jennifer Bucholtz to cover crime on the side.

Bucholtz currently works for the American Military University. She was previously a counterintelligence officer in the U.S. Army. Bucholtz once heard Jared on a podcast discussing the Gould case and wanted to use it for a case study in her classroom.

She emailed him to talk, and the first time they called each other, they talked for over 3 hours, according to Jared. They decided to work together because their areas of expertise are different enough that they’re able to supplement each other’s work.

“Immediately I knew that she was a deadly serious human being,” Jared said. “She’s a wonderful writer…and very well-spoken.”

Together, they developed a criteria for deciding what cases to pursue. They also have a network of people to consult–for example, a knife expert and an arson expert. People send them cases, and they put them through their vetting process.

The criteria they use include solvability, family buy-in, and access to case files. According to Jared, if a case is’t solved, it’s usually because an investigator missed an important detail. If the case meets all the criteria, they’ll start investigating it.

They worked together on Gould’s case and made a Facebook page for discussion. A year before he was arrested, the killer had been posting theories about her death on the page and even direct messaging both Jared and Bucholtz. They presented the Gould case at CrimeCon 2021.

They’re currently working on two new cases: the murder of Judy Petty from West Virginia and the murder of Linda Malcom from Washington, both in 2008. They’ll host a podcast covering it, and Bucholtz is planning to write a series of articles about it for the American Military University magazine.

Jared has worked with a few other people in addition to Bucholtz who have furthered his career. He stated that his first boss, the editor of the newspaper in Salem, Arkansas, David Cox, taught him how to be a journalist.

“He kind of took me under his wing,” Jared said. “He taught me how to write. One thing I learned early on in journalism…is always tell a good story.”

“He kind of took me under his wing,” Jared said. “He taught me how to write. One thing I learned early on in journalism…is always tell a good story.”

– George Jared

He also admired two professors he knew at Lyon College, Dr. Scott Roulier and Dr. David Harrison. Roulier was his moot court coach and constitutional law professor, and Harrison taught him about writing and history.

Jared also finds inspiration in literature. James Michener and Sir Conan Doyle are among his favorite authors. The novels Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr. and Dracula by Bram Stoker are significant for him.

Jared’s education at Lyon College and brief interlude as a salesman were beneficial for his career as well. He finds that he’s able to use his skills in history and political science for his stories. He likes to do research on the background of a story and then incorporate that into his writing.

“I wrote a story about rice one time, and what I did to start the story is I went into the history of humans cultivating rice,” Jared said. “I would find some nuanced way to get into the story.”

He uses the skills he learned as a salesman when he’s interviewing and getting information out of sources. He found that the aggression used to get someone to buy something they don’t want is necessary when talking with people who don’t want to talk.

Jared stated that when he’s faced with difficult situations, he never hesitates to do what’s important. For instance, he’s not afraid to ask tough questions during interviews or take pictures of people mourning over their loved ones.

“People have asked me, ‘Don’t you feel callous in those moments?’” Jared said. “And I’m like, ‘No.’ I said, ‘We have to document that type of history…sometimes you gotta do the tough thing.’”

“People have asked me, ‘Don’t you feel callous in those moments?’” Jared said. “And I’m like, ‘No.’ I said, ‘We have to document that type of history…sometimes you gotta do the tough thing.’”

– George Jared

To aspiring journalists, Jared said to write for their reader and think about what the reader would find interesting. It’s important to open the story with a good hook or the “magic moment” that would pull the reader in.

Jared will be hosting a presentation at Arkansas State University on Tuesday February 7 for anyone who’s interested in his work. He plans to talk about his experiences as a journalist and his two most prominent cases, the Gould case and the West Memphis Three. 

Two professors from the faculty are planning to attend. Mr. Terrence Armstard, a journalism instructor, will be introducing Jared and Dr. Angelo Brown, a criminology professor, will be doing the Q&A at the end. 

“I think it’s great for Mr. Jared to come and share his experiences as a professional journalist with our students,” Armstard said. “His background as a true investigative journalist and author as well as having a podcast reveals to students the plethora of career possibilities available as a journalist.”

“Journalists like George Jared can greatly impact the criminal justice system in a positive way as it can help highlight errors in the system to push reform forward and highlight bad actors within the system,” Brown said. “As Jared’s work has highlighted the errors in the West Memphis case and the violation of the civil rights of the defendants, there are countless examples of justice being brought through the help of journalism.”

Avery Jones is a sophomore in The Department of English and Philosophy at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. She can be reached at