Spree magazine honors Investigative Post

Journalists normally cringe at being lauded as activists, but Buffalo Spree magazine has bestowed such an honor on us and we’ll take it.

Western New York’s monthly magazine announced its “Best Of” awards last week and Investigative Post was selected “Best Activist Group” in a vote of readers.

Here’s what Spree has to say about us:

IP is technically a group of journalists, but its topics are carefully chosen, including, most recently, lead poisoning, local water pollution, and toxic landfills. Clearly, the writers for the Post are interested in drawing public attention to issues that could work against the public good and prompting activism around those issues. They’re more than just gadflies; they want to provoke positive change.

Indeed, we are in the business of change. Dan Telvock, Charlotte Keith and I select our stories based primarily on two criteria:

  • Are we exposing wrongdoing or explaining an important topic?
  • Would the story have impact?

It also helps if the topic has not been the subject of in-depth coverage and, believe me, there’s a lot that goes on in this town that doesn’t receive the scrutiny it should. That’s where we come in.

Our work since we launched four years ago has had considerable impact. Our reporting on the Buffalo Billion piqued the interest of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, prompting what has morphed into a statewide corruption investigation. City and county officials have finally gotten off the dime to begin addressing Buffalo’s serious lead poisoning problem. Local and state governments have taken steps to start cleaning up Scajaquada Creek. And this Wednesday, Investigative Post is hosting an event that builds off our reporting that has put the issue of diversity in the construction trades — and by extension, racial inequality — front and center.

Are we activists? No. Do we get action? Oh yeah.

The honor from Spree is the fourth recognition Investigative Post has received in the past month-and-a-half. Charlotte Keith was named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, which recognizes the best young reporters in America. Steve Brown of WGRZ and I won an Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting for a series on murder in Buffalo. Likewise, Investigative Post and WGRZ were named finalists for investigative reporting by the New York State Associated Press Association for a package of stories by Dan Telvock on lead poisoning in Buffalo.

The recognition is nice, but what’s really important is that our work is making a difference in our community. Ultimately, that’s what good journalism is all about.