Coppola elected Investigative Post board president

Lee Coppola, whose career has included stints as an investigative reporter, journalism school dean and federal prosecutor, has been elected president of the board of Investigative Post.

“Lee has been a practitioner and champion of investigative reporting his entire career. I’m very excited to have someone with his depth and breadth of experience leading our board,” said Jim Heaney, editor and executive director of Investigative Post, a non-profit investigative reporting center focused on issues of concern to Buffalo and Western New York.

“Being elected president of the board of directors is an honor I will try to uphold by helping Jim oversee a unique journalistic effort much needed in today’s times of shrinking journalistic investigative work,” Coppola said.

Board members also elected other officers at their April 26 meeting, including:

  • Robert Skerker, vice president/treasurer. Skerker is former chief executive officer and chairman of  Robinson Home Products and a current member of its board. He is also president of Think Solutions Inc., a private investment company. Skerker is a veteran of non-profit boards and currently serves with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Darwin Martin House.
  • Jody Kleinberg Biehl, secretary. Biehl is director of the Journalism Certificate Program at the University at Buffalo and faculty adviser for the The Spectrum, U.B.’s student newspaper. Her reporting and editing experience includes stints with Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading newsweekly,  and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Other board members include Heaney, a former investigative reporter with The Buffalo News, and Tom Toles, who won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning with The News who now works for The Washington Post.

Coppola was a newspaper and television investigative reporter for 25 years with The News, WKBW and WIVB. He reported extensively on organized crime and stories he wrote about the witness protection program were the basis of the movie “Hide In Plain Sight,” which starred James Caan.

He won more than 30 journalism awards, including the George Polk Award, National Press Club Consumer Affairs Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.

Coppola earned his law degree while working as a reporter and went on to prosecute drug dealers as an assistant United States attorney. He was then recruited as dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He retired last September after 15 years on the job.

Investigative Post, in addition to publishing its reporting on, distributes selected content through WGRZ-TV, Artvoice, WBFO-FM and The Buffalo News.

University partners include the journalism programs at St. Bonaventure University, the University at Buffalo, Canisius College and Medaille College.