Investigative Post, WGRZ announce partnership

Investigative Post is joining forces with WGRZ 2 On Your Side to form a ground-breaking partnership in the Buffalo market.

WGRZ has contracted with Investigative Post to co-produce investigations, interviews and other news programming that focus on the problems confronting Buffalo and Western New York.

“Investigative reporting is especially important in a troubled town like Buffalo and the partnership between Investigative Post and 2 On Your Side represents a solid one-two punch,” said Jim Heaney, editor and executive director of Investigative Post, which began operations in February.

“2 On Your Side prides itself on investigative journalism and this partnership with Investigative Post will only strengthen our position in the Buffalo market,” said Jeff Woodard, WGRZ News Director.

“We look forward to utilizing Jim’s rich experience of investigative reporting on all of our newscasts. We’re adding one of the strongest investigative reporters in the region to the 2 On Your Side ranks and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The partnership, announced Monday, will involve Heaney doing on-air reporting of stories he’ll also be reporting on his center’s website, InvestigativePost.org.

Heaney and Investigative Post will generate other content for WGRZ, including:

  • A weekly interview with newsmakers that will air Sunday mornings on Daybreak Sunday.
  • Another weekly news segment that will piggyback off reporting done by Investigative Post.
  • Periodic appearances during the week on Daybreak, WGRZ’s morning news show.

In addition, the station will feature Investigative Post’s work on a co-branded section of its website, WGRZ.com.

Investigative Post, which launched in February, is the newest of about 50 non-profit investigative reporting centers that are operating around the country. Most have been established in the past five years in response to staff cutbacks in newspaper and television newsrooms that have made it more difficult for media outlets to produce in-depth journalism.

Most centers have partnered with established media outlets to distribute stories.

“News outlets have traditionally done their own investigations and competed against each other,” Heaney said. “But in this era of shrinking staffs, a growing number of news organizations are seeing the value of collaborating.”

While a number of centers have established partnerships with television stations, most are affiliated with the Public Broadcasting System. There are relatively few involving non-profit investigative reporting centers and network affiliates, which puts the arrangement in Buffalo at the forefront.

“Investigative Post and 2 On Your Side share an aggressive approach to covering the news, which makes our partnership a good fit,” Heaney said.

In addition to working with WGRZ, a Gannett company, Investigative Post shares selected content with WBFO, Artvoice and The Buffalo News.

It also partners with journalism programs at St. Bonaventure University, the University at Buffalo, Canisius College and Medaille College.

Heaney was an investigative reporter with The Buffalo News for 25 years before leaving in August to start the Investigative Post. He has won more than 20 journalism honors and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1993 for investigative reporting.

The Investigative Post board includes Tom Toles of The Washington Post, who won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning with The Buffalo News, and Lee Coppola, a newspaper and TV investigative reporter and retired dean of the Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University.