Knight Foundation funds Investigative Post

The prestigious Knight Foundation has awarded Investigative Post, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a major grant to help fund environmental coverage and research collaborations with local colleges and universities.

The non-profit investigative reporting center, serving Buffalo and Western New York, also announced Wednesday the hiring of a development director and its first full-time investigative reporter.

“Investigative Post has made steady progress since launching in February and the Knight Foundation grant enables us to take the next step,” said Jim Heaney, editor and executive director of Investigative Post.

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, on behalf of Investigative Post, was one of 20 news and information projects across the nation awarded a total of $3.67 million by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation under its Community Information Challenge. The grants are part of an ongoing effort by Knight to fund innovative media projects.

The Knight grant will provide Investigative Post $102,000 over the next two years, as well as consulting services and participation in a boot camp scheduled for later this month in Chicago. A portion of the grant will be used to help cover the cost of establishing an investigative beat covering local environmental issues. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo previously approved a grant to help underwrite the first year of the beat.

“The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is committed to engaging the local community to address environmental issues in Western New York through our GrowWNY.org website and our collaboration with the Western New York Environmental Alliance,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, the CFDB’s president and chief executive officer. “This new Knight Community Information Challenge that we’ve been awarded will allow us to engage in an exciting new partnership with Investigative Post that will significantly boost the environmental news coverage and address critical environmental issues facing our community. ”

The Knight grant will also help cover a portion of the cost of a pioneering effort by Investigative Post to build collaborations with local colleges and universities to produce research and otherwise draw on academia’s expertise on issues that iPost reports on.

“There is a lot of brainpower to tap, and doing so will help us produce much richer journalism,” Heaney said.

Dan Telvock on Wednesday joined Investigative Post as the only reporter in Western New York assigned to cover the local environment full time. Telvock is a three-time winner of the Virginia Press Association’s investigative reporting award while working for Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and Leesburg Today. He most recently served as an editor for AOL’s Patch Network in Northern Virginia. Telvock, 38, is a native of Seneca Falls and a graduate of SUNY Fredonia, where he majored in communications.

Last month, Debra Goodman joined Investigative Post as director of development. Goodman, 32, is responsible for fundraising, membership, events management and community engagement. She coordinates the local Cycle for Survival event, raising money and awareness for rare cancer research. A native of New Hartford, Goodman moved to Buffalo in 2005 after teaching English in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in English from the University at Buffalo.

Investigative Post co-produces investigations and interviews with WGRZ News, the NBC affiliate for Buffalo, and shares content with Artvoice, the region’s alternative newsweekly. Ipost also publishes a wide range of content on its website, investigativepost.org.

iPost’s board includes Lee Coppola, a former investigative reporter and retired dean of the School of Journalism at St. Bonaventure University, and Tom Toles, editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post, who won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize with The Buffalo News.