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by Jim Heaney


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Jim Heaney

Jim Heaney has kept a quote from Carl Bernstein taped to the side of his computer terminal for most of his career that reads: “Journalism is not stenography, it is the best obtainable version of the truth.”

Those have been his words to work by, first at The Orlando Sentinel, then The Buffalo News, and now Investigative Post. He’s worked to embed that ethos into the DNA of the nonprofit investigative reporting center he founded in 2012.

Heaney is editor and executive director of Investigative Post. His reporting has been cited for excellence in about 25 journalism competitions over the course of his career. He was a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for his series on slum housing. 

His investigation of Buffalo’s misuse of federal block grant funds won Governing Magazine’s national reporting award in 2005. He and Steve Brown of WGRZ won an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2016 for their investigation into Buffalo’s poor track record of solving homicides. In 2019, he won the Nellie Bly Award for Investigative Reporting for uncovering corruption in the Buffalo Billion program.

While Heaney continues to report on a limited basis, he spends most of his time editing, fundraising and coordinating news coverage with Investigative Post’s media partners, including WGRZ.

Heaney was an investigative reporter with The News for 25 years before he left in August 2011 to undertake plans to launch Investigative Post. His investigative work and beat coverage at The News focused on government and urban and economic issues. 

Subjects of his major investigations included government corruption, city schools, housing discrimination and wasteful public spending. He was an early practitioner of computer-assisted reporting and the use of surveys to gauge the effectiveness of local elected officials.

“We have a lot of fine journalists at The News, but to my mind Jim was the point of the spear,” columnist Donn Esmonde said at a fete to honor Heaney upon his departure from the paper.

“His determination, to paraphrase Mencken, to afflict the powerful who needed afflicting, raised the performance bar in our newsroom. I know that Jim was an example and a mentor to younger reporters. For the rest of us, myself included, he was a journalistic conscience, a constant reminder to tell the story the way it needed to be told, to not let anyone off the hook,” Esmonde said.

Heaney was a leader in the Buffalo Newspaper Guild for more than 20 years. He served on eight negotiating teams and was a recipient of the union’s Outstanding Service Award in 2009.

Prior to joining The News in 1986, Heaney worked as a reporter and editor with The Orlando Sentinel, covering transportation, politics and local and state government. Before that he was publisher and editor of The First Amendment, a weekly paper he founded to serve Buffalo’s Kensington-Bailey neighborhood.

Heaney attended St. Bonaventure University and graduated from Medaille College in 1977 with a degree in media communications. He grew up in the Town of Tonawanda and is a 1973 graduate of Kenmore East High School.

He can be reached at His Twitter handle is @jimheaney.

Geoff Kelly

Geoff Kelly joined Investigative Post in April 2019 after four years as editor and publisher of The Public, a weekly newspaper he co-founded, and 10 years as editor of Artvoice, another Western New York weekly.

Kelly was also editor of Pulp, an alternative newsweekly in Pittsburgh, for two years.

A native Western New Yorker, Kelly was raised in East Aurora, graduated from Canisius High School and received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Middlebury College. He began his journalism career as a freelancer for Artvoice. (First cover story: “Get the Lead Out,” about the City of Buffalo’s federally funded, scandal-ridden and ineffectual lead hazard control program.) He was appointed the paper’s editor in January 2000. 

Over the next two years, he co-wrote a series of articles about legacy radioactive wastes in Niagara County, covered toxic chemical exposure in the Hickory Woods housing subdivision in South Buffalo, and began to develop a beat covering city politics and government.

In April 2004, Kelly traveled to Iraq with a team of academics and journalists from The Nation, Free Speech TV and Middle East Report. His reporting from Baghdad appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Boston Phoenix and the Village Voice, among other publications. Later that year, Kelly moved to Doha, Qatar, where he freelanced for such publications as Arabies Trends and Qatar Today. He also served as senior media officer for the Qatar Foundation.

Upon returning to Buffalo and Artvoice in 2006, Kelly resumed writing about regional politics and government, with an emphasis on Buffalo’s City Hall, as well as environmental issues. He carried those interests to a new publication he co-founded in 2014, The Public.

His reporting duties with Investigative Post focus on local government and politics.

Geoff can be contacted at His Twitter handle is @ghkelly1969.

Mark Scheer

Mark Scheer joined Investigative Post in January 2021from the Niagara Gazette and Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, where he served as regional news director.

He began his career as a reporter with the Medina Journal-Register in 1998 and began work at the Gazette in 2007, where he was a reporter and later city editor before his promotion to regional news director.

Matt Winterhalter, managing editor of the Gazette, praised Scheer in announcing his departure from the newspaper, telling readers,  “Many of the impactful stories you’ve read in the Gazette and Lockport Journal over the past few years are a direct result of his hard work and guidance.”

Scheer, a graduate of the journalism program at Buffalo State College, devotes most of his time to reporting on the Western New York economy and economic development.

Readers can follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkScheer and contact him at

Layne Dowdall

Layne Dowdall joined Investigative Post in January 2021 following her graduation from St. Bonaventure University. She majored in journalism and environmental studies and followed with a fellowship with the News21 Initiative at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

While at St. Bonaventure, she reported for TAPinto Greater Olean, a student-run hyperlocal news outlet, and served as vice president of the student body and promotions director at the campus radio station.

Dowdall covers education and also shoots video for stories produced with our partners at WGRZ and manages Investigative Post’s social media accounts.

She can be followed on Twitter at @DowdallLayne  and contacted via email at