• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

The best iPost story of 2021

A report on elevated levels of E. coli bacteria in local waterways was voted Best Paper by Investigative Post in 2021.

Our best story of 2021, according to an online reader survey, documented the contamination of local waterways with a nasty strain of bacteria.

Streams, polluted with E. coli, include the Black Rock Channel, the Buffalo River, and Cazenovia Creek. Sewer overflows are at the root of the problem, according to a Phil Gambini report, which covers environmental and public health issues for Investigative Post.

Among the other main contributors of votes:

Here is the final tally.


Pick your favorite 2021 story

  • Popular contaminated waterways (17%, 18 votes)
  • Unite to save sponsorship jobs (12%, 12 votes)
  • The city’s persistent poverty (12%, 12 votes)
  • Superintendent absent from Buffalo (11%, 11 votes)
  • Buffalo’s appalling school attendance (10%, 10 votes)
  • Slow response to 911 calls (9%, 9 votes)
  • $ 4 million per job subsidy agreement (8%, 8 votes)
  • A dubious national leader (7%, 7 votes)
  • Cancers of the West Valley (7%, 7 votes)
  • Another Buffalo Billion boondoggle (7%, 7 votes)
  • Increase in traffic stops (3%, 3 votes)
  • Crime down, but still high (0%, 0 votes)

Total number of electors: 104

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Several of the top votes were also among the most viewed stories on our website last year. Here is the Top 5, in order of ranking:

  • The superintendent of schools in Buffalo is often MIA. Read.
  • Residents of Erie County charged in the January 6 riot. Read.
  • Buffalo’s persistent poverty. Read.
  • Rally to save their sponsorship jobs. Read.
  • Profile of Doug Jamal. Read.

Also note the traffic on Campaign Notes; its more than 60 articles generated more pageviews than anything we produced in 2021.


A story by Gambini on the cost to the city’s taxpayers of police misconduct – $ 11.9 million in legal settlements since 2015 – has been selected by readers as the best Investigative Post story of 2020.

Previous winners in recent years include Marsha McLeod for her 2019 article on discriminatory ticketing practices in Buffalo, and Daniela Porat’s 2018 survey of the drowning Buffalo Police Diver Craig Lehner.