From breaking news coverage of Derek Chauvin’s conviction for murdering George Floyd to comprehensive investigations into police misconduct to in-depth reporting on COVID-19, the 2022 Page One Awards from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists (MNSPJ) highlighted the best of journalism during a challenging year.
Our Peter S. Popovich Award, given annually to the person or organization that best exemplifies the fight for First Amendment rights, went to Jared Goyette. Police fired a projectile at Goyette’s head while he was reporting on protests after Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd in 2020. Goyette, a freelance journalist at the time, wasn’t alone in being targeted. He and other injured journalists went on to serve as plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the city of Minneapolis, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Read more about Goyette’s story and the lawsuit here.
Deena Winter of Minnesota Reformer was named Journalist of the Year for strong reporting on police misconduct during protests after the murder of George Floyd, the bankruptcies of My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and more standout coverage. Judges noted the sheer scope of her reporting skills deserved “the highest praise.”
Young Journalist of the Year went to Hibah Ansari of the Sahan Journal for reporting including the challenges Muslim homebuyers face in the real estate market and breaking news on a potential federal prosecutor’s appointment. Judges described her reporting as “excellent work for a reporter at any stage in their career, even more so for someone starting out. The future looks bright for this talented reporter, as well as her readers.”
Catharine Richert of MPR News took first in Best Beat Reporting for her coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “human stories” she shared with readers, a judge noted, made them feel like they knew the people involved.
Star Tribune staff won Story of the Year for coverage of Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing. Judges stated the coverage rose “to the historic occasion, not just for Minnesota but for the nation.”
The award for Best Use of Public Records went to Brandon Stahl, A.J. Lagoe, Gary Knox and Steve Eckert of KARE 11 for reporting on Minnesota’s systemic failures to treat individuals with mental illnesses who’ve been accused of crimes. Judges called their coverage a “dynamite exposé.”
Journalists from the Society of Professional Journalists Region 12, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, judged this year’s contest. Entries were published or broadcast during 2021 in newspaper, magazine, television, radio, online and photography divisions.
MNSPJ has an online spreadsheet with full results, which news organizations can use to generate a list of their winning entries. The sheet includes comments from judges on first-place winners.
Plaques and certificates were distributed on June 23 at an event at St. Paul’s Como Lakeside Pavilion. You can go here to see an online program with MNSPJ scholarship winners, award recipients grouped by news organization and other details from the ceremony.
Congratulations to all the winners!