On a stormy Tuesday evening, local journalists gathered, socialized, and toasted to the hard work of their peers at the 2019 MNSPJ Page One Awards.
Star Tribune editor Dave Hage was named Journalist of the Year, and MPR News photographer Evan Frost was named Young Journalist of the Year. Star Tribune’s “Denied Justice” package received the Story of the Year award.
Minnesota Public Radio’s Angela Davis, host of MPR News with Angela Davis, presented the night’s awards. Davis also spoke about the role journalists must play in the future — both to seek out untold stories, and to bring more diversity into newsrooms. “This is not the time to be silent,” she said. “This is not the time for complacency.”
Longtime Star Tribune journalist Lori Sturdevant received the 2019 Peter S. Popovich Award, which is given to a person or organization that exemplifies the fight for First Amendment rights. In her acceptance speech, Sturdevant urged her colleagues to “keep knocking on the closed doors,” and cited a quote from Elmer L. Andersen — Minnesota’s 30th governor and later a newspaper publisher — “You can trust the people to do the right thing—provided they get the facts.” Sturdevant recently retired from the Star Tribune and has been a reporter, editorial writer and columnist who has written about Minnesota government and politics since 1978. She is also the author or editor of 11 books about notable Minnesotans.
The Page One Awards also honored the best pieces in Minnesota journalism published or broadcast during the 2018 calendar year. About 150 journalists working for print, TV, radio and online outlets attended the event, which was held at the Town & Country Club in St. Paul. The entries for this year’s awards were judged by members of the Kansas City Heartland of America Club.
Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota’s 41st governor, gave the banquet’s keynote speech, and noted it was his 25th wedding anniversary that night. He spoke about the importance of news organizations for shaping the statewide conversation, his push in Congress for politicians’ financial transparency, and shared an anecdote about being interviewed by a high school journalist in 2005 during his first congressional campaign. The governor also took questions, and didn’t hold back from impassioned talk about the frustrations of the recent state budget process.
Minnesota SPJ also announced two scholarship winners. A $2,500 scholarship went to University of Minnesota student Dylan Miettinen, who is interning with CNN this summer in Atlanta, Georgia. “His clips were meaty,” said presenter and MNSPJ Secretary Frederick Melo. “Yet he never failed to find human beings to illustrate a trend, whether writing about legislative bills to ban gay Conversion Therapy, interviewing students for a story about a new study on poor health outcomes for non-binary students; interviewing college students living with diabetes, and patients undergoing their own at-home cancer treatments.” U of M student Becca Most received a $1,000 scholarship.
Minnesota SPJ President Joe Spear awarded the President’s Award to Christopher Snowbeck, the incoming president. Snowbeck was credited for his efforts to revamp the Page One Awards categories, his common sense, and spreadsheets that “are works of art.”
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the oldest and largest organization of journalists in the U.S., was founded as Sigma Delta Chi in 1909. The Minnesota Chapter, which has about 100 members, was founded in 1956.
If you would like to order duplicate awards or have any awards-related questions, please contact Minnesota SPJ at firstname.lastname@example.org.