Meet the journalists running for the 2018-19 MNSPJ board

Minnesota SPJ members running for the 2018-19 Board of Directors have submitted the following statements. Electronic ballots will be mailed to all MNSPJ members currently in good standing with both the national organization and local chapter.

Didn’t receive a ballot in your email but think you should have? Contact

Ballots must be submitted no later than noon Saturday, July 21. Results of this year’s election will be announced at the MNSPJ annual meeting Monday, July 23 at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul. (Location has been updated.) All MNSPJ members and local journalists are welcome to attend.

Please email with questions or concerns.


Christopher Snowbeck, of the Star Tribune

Biography and statement:

My name is Christopher Snowbeck and I’m seeking re-election to the board as the chapter’s president-elect. Currently, I’m completing my fourth year on the board, and third year as treasurer.

These are challenging times for journalists. I want to help MNSPJ explain the work we do as journalists, while highlighting the positive contributions we make in our communities. We’re lucky in Minnesota to have so many strong news organizations that live up to the promise of our profession on a daily basis. MNSPJ is in a unique position to put a spotlight on these efforts and explain, with sincerity and humility, how journalists are trying to make things better.

I believe it’s important for the chapter to maintain and improve the already strong tradition of the Page One awards and banquet. I’ve developed an appreciation for the mechanics of running both events, and believe I can help future boards meet and exceed expectations. Newsrooms and journalists across the state have shown great support for Page One over the years, including increased attendance at this year’s banquet earlier this month. I’d like to build on that momentum. The awards do a good job of recognizing excellence in newspapers, television, magazines, radio, online and photography. I’d like to build across all these categories not only participation in Page One, but also membership and participation in chapter events.

Having served as treasurer, I have a good understanding of the chapter’s financials. I appreciate the trust members place in us by virtue of their dues, and am serious about providing responsible stewardship of those funds. I think MNSPJ should do more via partnership with other community groups. Along these lines, I’m proud of my work with current president Jenna Ross to collaborate with other organizations on an event at the Guthrie Theater in 2016 to honor the centennial of the Pulitzer prizes. MNSPJ also must join with others in strong advocacy on FOI matters.

I’ve been a business reporter at the Star Tribune since 2014, and worked eight years before that at the Pioneer Press. I’ve been a reporter for a number of newspapers since graduating from Carleton College in Northfield in 1994. I live in St. Paul.


Frederick Melo, of the Pioneer Press


A Boston boy who lost his way and landed far from home, Frederick Melo has been a reporter with the St. Paul Pioneer Press since January 2005. From 2005 through 2010 he covered crime and legal misdoings in Dakota County, a hotbed of rural-suburban angst. He is currently the St. Paul City Hall Bureau Chief, from where he maintains an eagle-eyed domain over all the city and keeps mayors and city council members as honest as he’s able. He resides in a 1916 Sears catalog St. Paul home with his St. Paul-reared wife and their two tiny St. Paul children. He likes St. Paul.


It’s been an honor to serve on the board of MNSPJ these past two years, including spending the last year as a board officer (Secretary). I’m asking for your vote to re-elect me to that position so I can continue to maintain the minutes at meetings, write regular newsletters and occasionally update Facebook and Twitter and live-Tweet events. More importantly, I’ve worked hard on efforts to connect younger folks to MNSPJ, to jobs, to scholarships, to our national conference and to the good work that journalists do. I chaired our scholarship committee, which awarded $3,200 in funds to college students this year and last year. I also spoke to the college SPJ chapter and oversaw Intern Night at WCCO, which draws employers for a panel discussion with students each October and — believe it or not — results in some actual hiring! My goals for 2018-2019 include all that and a bag of chips — including a fall mixer for board
officers from other media associations such as the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. We all do better when we all do better!


Anna Pratt, of PRI International

Biography and statement:

I’m a digital editor at PRI (Public Radio International) focused on a project highlighting women’s stories across the globe. Before that, I did a stint as copy editor at City Pages (filling in) and was a longtime freelancer with my byline appearing in local and national publications including the Daily Beast, New York Daily News, People magazine, Southwest Journal, Star Tribune, The Line. The many beats I’ve covered include development, education, neighborhood news, arts, government and business. I’ve also served as a director and officer, including president, for the Minnesota Pro Chapter of SPJ for a number of years. I’m also a past chair of national SPJ’s Freelance Community. As such, I have a good handle on the hard work and high journalistic standards it takes to participate and lead the organization. I hope to oversee the continuation of our state chapter’s nationally recognized educational and outreach efforts and make sure we take a strong stand on the ethical, legal and professional issues important to journalists. I would appreciate your vote of confidence.


(listed in alphabetical order)

Briana Bierschbach, of MPR News


I’ve covered the Minnesota state Capitol for the last eight years with various publications, including the Associated Press, Politics in Minnesota, MinnPost and now MPR News. Prior to joining the statehouse press corps, I worked for the University of Minnesota’s campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, where I covered city government and eventually joined a special projects team. I’ve also interned with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Premier Publications and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. I live in Northeast Minneapolis with my husband and two cats, Sunny and Cassy.


This year I was lucky enough to participate in two events with the Minnesota chapter of SPJ, talking about my coverage in the wake of the #MeToo Movement and on the issue of transparency in state government. It reminded me how important it is to have groups like SPJ engaging journalists and the broader public in conversations about how we do our job. It helps journalists to hear from other reporters about best practices, and it also breaks down barriers with readers when we talk about how we cover challenging topics. As a member of the Minnesota SPJ Board, I hope I can bring to the table more ideas about how we keep that conversation going, both through events and broader social media campaigns.

Reed Fischer, of Minnesota Monthly


There’s no time like the present for the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. Our industry is under fire from all directions, but our colleagues are putting out work that informs and entertains with an inspiring urgency. Although competition is always going to be a part of our field, it’s important to celebrate our collective successes, share professional wisdom, and hold each other accountable. The SPJ has done an admirable job to keep journalism vital locally. With my managerial, editorial, and writing background across all formats of print and digital, I know I’d be able to help this incredible team.


I’m currently the senior editor at Minnesota Monthly. Previously I was the editorial director for GoMN and the music editor for City Pages. At various times, I’ve been responsible for editing, writing, project management, strategy, data analysis, and staff development. I’ve managed staff and freelance producers, videographers, and photographers to create thrilling experiences for a digital audience while meeting web traffic and social media goals. I’ve also spearheaded edits, production, design, and delivery of many print products. Plus, I’ve conducted successful social media campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), interpreted Google Analytics data, led web and app redesigns, optimized email newsletters (Mailchimp), and developed new editorial products. Also I’ve done a bunch of freelance work for Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and other national publications.

Amy Forliti, of the Associated Press

My name is Amy Forliti, and I am a reporter at The Associated Press in Minneapolis. Please consider my application for a board member position with MNSPJ. Here is a brief biography, followed by a candidacy statement, as requested.


I am a seasoned reporter with 19+ years of experience at The Associated Press. I excel at reporting in the field during competitive breaking news situations, including the investigation into Prince’s sudden death, a nightclub fire that killed 100 people, mass shootings, the Interstate 35W bridge collapse and Hurricane Katrina. I have developed the law enforcement and courts beat in recent years, with an emphasis on high-profile police shootings and the terrorism recruiting of Somali youth in Minnesota. I was selected as an AP Future Leader in 2013 and conceived new training and development opportunities for worldwide staff. I also shoot video, and as part of the national weekend writing rotation I am tasked with reporting and writing the largest national story of the day. My prior work history includes jobs as the supervisory correspondent (manager/editor) in the AP’s Rhode Island bureau, reporting at the AP in Indianapolis, copy editing at the Star Tribune, and producer at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wis.


I would like to join the MNSPJ Board because I believe it is now more important than ever for journalists to hold people accountable, fight for access and rise above the chatter as we share truth with the public. I have been thoroughly impressed with MNSPJ’s work in recent years as it supports hard-working journalists, and I believe my experience will be an asset to the board as that work continues.

As a board member, I would like to explore educational events that focus on investigative journalism, data gathering and other tools of the trade that can help reporters discover stories and expose problems. I would also like to see more events on “multimedia” skills, which all journalists are being asked to master these days. At this point in my career, I would also like to mentor and connect with new journalists and find ways to offer them support as they jump into this challenging, yet fulfilling, field.

I would be thrilled to join the amazing journalists on the MNSPJ Board and contribute to the great work they are already doing to promote responsible journalism and protect the public’s right to know. Thank you for the opportunity.

Emma Nelson, of the Star Tribune

Biography and statement:

My name is Emma Nelson, and I cover the city of St. Paul for the Star Tribune. I started working at the paper shortly after graduating from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and since then have covered local government beats from Scott County to Minneapolis City Hall.

I didn’t grow up planning to become a journalist. It wasn’t until halfway through college that my vague dreams of working as a writer brought me to the Minnesota Daily, where I started out as a reporter without the slightest idea of how to craft a news story. As challenging as those early days were – and as challenging print journalism continues to be – I’ve stayed because I believe strongly in this work, and because I love the community I’ve found through it.

In the Twin Cities, SPJ is essential in building and sustaining that community. Since starting my job, I’ve cherished the opportunities that SPJ has provided to meet and learn from other journalists, and to reflect on and celebrate the work that we do.

I want to join the SPJ board because I want to support the organization and help sustain the local journalism community. Thank you for your consideration.

Alex Veeneman, freelance journalist

Biography and statement:

I am a freelance journalist based in Minneapolis who has worked published in both the US and the UK. I also am an active member of SPJ’s national Ethics Committee and a contributor to its editorial platforms. I previously served as a coordinator of SPJ’s national community network.

Minnesota is one of the most vibrant markets in all of journalism – and allows for unique opportunities – from the Twin Cities to Duluth, Fargo/Moorhead to Rochester, and points in between. In addition, Minnesota has the opportunity to lead in the ability to help promote, strengthen and enhance journalism for our peers across the United States. This is especially true in times of change and unease, where the prospects of working in journalism are uncertain, especially for those early in their careers – and the identity of journalism’s future is unknown.

Being an early career journalist myself, combined with my national SPJ experience, I have the opportunity to help Minnesota’s SPJ chapter put a human face on journalism, advance journalism ethics in the digital age and help early career journalists be ready for the evolving field. A position on the Board of Directors would allow me to do that and more in the pursuit to help journalists be at their best.

We help audiences be at their best through the work we do every day – Minnesota SPJ helps journalists across the state and region be at their best, for if we are at our best, so are our audiences. Helping journalists be at their best benefits everyone – and election to the Board would be a commitment to do just that – for the benefit of the communities and journalists not just in Minnesota, but across the region and nationwide.

I appreciate your consideration.

2018 Page One Awards Honor great journalism in Minnesota


Scholarship winner Nick Kelly at the Page One Awards

Local journalists gathered to celebrate the best in reporting, photography, broadcast, and digital production Thursday night at the 2018 Minnesota SPJ Page One Awards.


Jennifer Bjorhus, an investigative reporter for the Star Tribune, took home Journalist of the Year honors while Sam Brodey, the Washington correspondent for MinnPost, was named Young Journalist of the Year. Chris Serres of the Star Tribune received the Story of the Year award for his “Left to Suffer” series on the abuse of residents in senior homes across Minnesota.


In other news, Ken Goulart, Larry Gubbe, Tom Funk, Alan Kildow, Sonya Braunschweig and other members of a citizens group in Victoria, Minn., received the 2018 Peter S. Popovich Award, which is given to a person or organization that exemplifies the fight for First Amendment rights. Over the span of five years, the group had pushed their City Council for access to basic public records like council meeting minutes and email communications, and later the group was victorious in court when several council members were found to have violated the state’s Open Meeting Law.


The Page One Awards honor the best in Minnesota journalism. About 150 journalists working in print, TV, radio and online 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 Florida pro chapter of SPJ.


Christopher Ingraham, a Washington Post reporter who became infamous in Minnesota after publishing a report that ranked Red Lake County, Minn., last in the nation in terms of “natural amenities,” gave the keynote address. Ingraham, who described himself as a “born again Minnesotan” after he moved his family to Red Lake, talked about his new life in rural Minnesota as well as the importance of data especially in a world where some are suspicious of media and “fake news.” “The challenge we face is that we know there are a lot of misconceptions out there,” he said. Visual data such as charts and other graphics can often be more convincing than just plain text, Ingraham said.


Minnesota SPJ also announced the winner of a $2,500 scholarship — Nick Kelly, a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Columbia who has interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, ESPN Radio, the Rochester Post Bulletin and several other outlets. He currently has an internship with The Athletic.


Minnesota SPJ President Jenna Ross awarded the President’s Award to treasurer Christopher Snowbeck highlighting his meticulous financial bookkeeping and invaluable contributions to the chapter.


The awards ceremony was hosted by Star Tribune metro columnist Jennifer Brooks.


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


The complete winner’s list can be viewed here. Check out a gallery capturing the night’s speeches, music and socializing. 

Emcee Jennifer Brooks crafted a mascot for the evening.

And the 2018 Page One Awards Go To …

Thanks to all the journalists who joined MNSPJ for the annual Page One Awards banquet on Thursday night. All winners have now been posted to the website — use these links to navigate categories.  Congratulations!


Special Awards:

2018 Page One Awards — Special Award Winners


2018 Page One Awards in Newspaper Journalism


2018 Page One Awards in Magazine Journalism


2018 Page One Awards in Television Journalism


2018 Page One Awards in Radio Journalism


2018 Page One Awards in Online Journalism


2018 Page One Awards in Photography

2018 Page One Awards — Special Award Winners


MNSPJ congratulates all the winners recognized Thursday night at the annual Page One Awards!  Here’s a list of winners in special award categories.


Best Use of Public Records

First Place, James Shiffer, StarTribune “Secrecy Rules”


Judge’s comment

“Stories about public records laws are rarely sexy, but in an era where government is attempting to become more secret, stories such as “Secrecy Rules” are more needed. Kudos to the StarTribune for giving the reporter as long as he needed to complete this series investigating the state’s increasingly pervasive nature of government secrecy.”


Second Place, Brian Hunhoff, Yankton County Observer “In A Minutes Notice”

Third Place, A.J. Lagoe, Steve Eckert, Gary Knox, KARE “Double Billing the Badge”


Best Beat Reporting

First Place, A.J. Lagoe, KARE        

“A.J. Lagoe: On the VA Beat”


Judge’s comment

“Forcing change is a mark of great beat reporting. While several applicants in this category produced work that forced change, none could match the gyrations caused by A.J. Lagoe’s reporting on the VA medical center. Not once, not twice but three times Lagoe produced stories off his beat that caused the VA to react, and in one case, the reactions poured in from outraged members of Congress as well. His stories produced outrage because he had vivid examples told by sympathetic characters, veterans who fought for the country only to find themselves vexed by the nation’s response when they needed long-promised help. His work rose to the top as a shining example of how reporters can provoke change by covering their beats well.”


Second Place, Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press

Third Place, Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune


Young Journalist of the Year

First Place, Sam Brodey, MinnPost


Judge’s comment

“Brodey has tackled complex issues in his reporting, made even more impressive with the fact that he is the lone Washington reporter on staff. His writing shows maturity and a deep understanding of the issues beyond his 26 years.”


Second Place, Riham Feshir, MPR News

Third Place, Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune


Journalist of the Year

First Place, Jennifer Bjorhus, Star Tribune


Judge’s comment

“Jennifer Bjorhus exemplifies the best of our profession. She dug through records. She interviewed. She reported. She wrote. She published a months-long investigation into police misconduct – shining a bright light on the state’s broken system of disciplining officers who have committed crimes including violent crimes. The state responded promptly by updating its outdated policies and police agencies across the state adopted new training protocols. And if that story wasn’t enough she also reported on the sexual harassment of a couple of state legislators that were forced to resign in the wake of the MeToo movement. Kudos to her and body of work.”


Second Place, Brian Bakst, MPR News                 


Story of the Year

First Place, Chris Serres, StarTribune        

“Left to Suffer”


“Left to Suffer” stood head-and-shoulders above the competition. The writing was excellent, clear and focused without being “writerly.” Reporter Chris Serres fully detailed the abuse and its impact, but this sensitive subject matter was never sensationalized, which made it all the more compelling. Stories seamlessly wove the broader systemic failures into the personal stories. David Joles photos were compelling, and the decision to make them black-and-white only emphasized their power. The interactive graphic in the Grayce Braaten case was stunning, and persuading David DeLong to speak was a true “get”. Finally, change- the Heritage House licenses- was triggered by the stories’ findings even before the story published, evidence of having unearthed irrefutable findings. An important story, and the clear category winner.”


Second Place, Briana Bierschbach, MinnPost

“Sexual harassment at the Capitol”

Third Place, A.J. Lagoe, Steve Eckert, Gary Knox, KARE

“Double Billing the Badge”

2018 Page One Awards in Newspaper Journalism


MNSPJ congratulates all the winners recognized Thursday night at the annual Page One Awards!  Here’s a list of winners for excellence in newspaper journalism.


Spot News  Newspaper  – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Paul Walsh, Libor Jany, Miguel Otarola, Star Tribune

“Minnehaha Academy Explosion”


Judge’s comment

“Great reporting. The reporters do a nice job putting the reader at the scene of what happened and adding key context — giving a face to the victims and exploring the history of gas leaks in the state. It’s a nice package. The photos are also gripping.


Second Place, Neal Justin, Star Tribune

“Scandal Hits Home”

Third Place, Kristen Leigh Painter, Kavita Kumar, Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune

“Macy’s sells landmark home of Minneapolis retail”


Meeting/Planned news event  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Nate Gotlieb, Southwest Journal

“School Board votes to rectify ‘wrongful firings’ of seven employees”


Judge’s comment

“This piece clearly meets journalistic standards. The lede clearly and efficiently explains what the story is about. There are multiple sources and the board vote is explained in detail.”


Meeting/Planned news event  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Staff Star Tribune         

“Franken resigns”


Judge’s comment

 “Well done by the staff of the Star Tribune. The event was covered from multiple angles, with each story being very clear and consistent. Sourcing was phenomenal.”


Second Place, Shannon Prather, Star Tribune

“New St. Paul shelter offer paths out of homelessness”

Third Place, Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Tom Brady leads Patriots to fifth Super Bowl win as Falcons collapse”


Feature  Newspaper  – LESS than 50,000+ circulation

First Place, John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune    

“She taught me how to walk”


Judge’s comment

 “Lovely writing. Well-sourced story. Full of great scenes.”


Second Place, Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune

“My life mattered”

Third Place, Zac Farber, Minnesota Lawyer

“Politics of the Past: Minnesota’s “Wild Woman” charged with impersonating a man in 1858”


Feature  Newspaper  – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Mila Koumpilova, Star Tribune         

“Mohamed in the middle”


Judge’s comment

 “Wonderful storytelling. Puts a face on a young immigrant trying to navigate his way to college.”


Second Place, Susan Du, City Pages

“An underground club is raided, and Minneapolis must face the times”

Third Place, S. M. Chavey, Pioneer Press

“After a fall, Twin Cities woman forgot her entire life”


Enterprise/In-Depth (Single story)  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Mark Fischenich, Mankato Free Press

“A Blast Gone Bad”


Judge’s comment

 “Great in-depth reporting that tells a really interesting story and does a solid job explaining what happened.”


Second Place, Brian Johnson, Finance & Commerce

“Investors cut back on affordable-housing tax credits”

Third Place, Melinda Lavine, Duluth News Tribune

“You’re not a fraud”


Enterprise/In-Depth (Single story)  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

“A new reformation”


Judge’s comment

 “This could have been a mundane story–500 years since Martin Luther made religious history. Instead, the reader is taken to Europe to see a pilgrimage of locals seeing where it all happened. Very interesting and entertaining read.”


Second Place, Tad Vezner, Pioneer Press

“Businesses facing ADA lawsuits”

Third Place, Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune

“Trying to escape shadow of dread”


Enterprise/In-Depth (Series)  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Business Journals’ local and national staff, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

“The Amazon Effect: How taxpayers are funding disruption of the U.S. economy”


Judge’s comment

“Amazon offers its customers convenience but at what cost? This fascinating, well researched piece answers that question and it is nothing short of an eye opener.”


Second Place, Dylan Thomas, Michelle Bruch, Eric Best, Nate Gotlieb, Southwest Journal

“Making Change”

 Third Place, Mike Longaecker, Michelle Wirth, RiverTown Multimedia

“Public Safety Magnet”


Enterprise/In-Depth (Series)  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Chris Serres, David Joles, Star Tribune

“Left to Suffer”


Judge’s comment

“Left to Suffer” stood head-and-shoulders above the competition. The writing was excellent, clear and focused without being “writerly.” Reporter Chris Seres fully detailed the abuse and its impact, but this sensitive subject matter was never sensationalized, which made it all the more compelling. Stories seamlessly wove the broader systemic failures into the personal stories. David Joles photos were compelling, and the decision to make them black-and-white only emphasized their power. The interactive graphic in the Grayce Braaten case was stunning, and persuading David DeLong to speak was a true “get”. Finally, change- the Heritage House licenses- was triggered by the stories’ findings even before the story published, evidence of having unearthed irrefutable findings. An important story, and the clear category winner.”


Second Place, Kristen Leigh Painter, Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

“The Future of Food”

Third Place, MaryJo Webster, Anthony Lonetree, Beena Raghavendran, Beatrice Dupuy, Star Tribune

“Students in Flight”


Investigative  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Jana Peterson, Pine Journal

“Police chief suspended”


Judge’s comment

“This is a wonderful example of community journalism — closely following the actions of a public body, challenging that body when it violates open meetings laws, giving context and history to problems with the police department, and following up the resolution with a deep dive into documents underlying the story. The town of Cloquet is obviously well-served by its newspaper.”



Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation  

First Place, Jennifer Bjorhus, MaryJo Webster, Star Tribune

“Shielded by the Badge”


Judge’s comment

“Journalism at its finest. This powerful data reporting exposed how hundreds of Minnesota law enforcement officers kept their badges despite convictions for violent criminal offenses. The four-part series reveals a state licensing system that is failing the public. Well done!”


Second Place, Susan Du, City Pages

“From wedding to body bag in 12 hours — what happened to Elisa Gomez?”


Business Story  Newspaper — LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Nicholas Halter, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal      

“Where have you gone Mr. Holmes?”


Judge’s comment

 “A well-reported profile that was hard to put down. The story really brought out the mystery behind Mr. Homes and his real estate business.”


Second Place, Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal        

“Ready for a race?” 

Third Place, Matt Johnson, Finance & Commerce

“Perking up an old coffee factory in the North Loop”


Business Story  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Jeff Meitrodt, Star Tribune

“Cost of affair, family rift measured in millions”


Judge’s comment

 “This is what business journalism is all about. The reporter peels back the curtain on allegations of misspending by a chief executive at one of Minnesota’s largest privately owned companies and how it has torn the family business apart.”


Second Place, Susan Du, City Pages

“Reefer Riches: What Minnesota could learn about recreational marijuana”

Third Place, Christopher Magan, Pioneer Press  

“Liquor’s Sunday shift”


Sports News Story  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press

“Contract shows MSU’s commitment to Hastings”


Judge’s comment

 “Fantastic. The reporter used quotes from the sports coach and the president of the university, two very important sources. There’s also a utilization of a public information request. which heavily benefits the story. The combination of data and sourcing combines for an interesting, informational news piece.”


Sports News Story  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation  

First Place, Heather Rule, Star Tribune

“Gophers men’s hockey team spreads the wealth in victory over Harvard”


Judge’s comment

 “This one stood apart from the rest because, simply, it was a news story. This story has detail, quotations from multiple sources, and gets to the point from the get-go.”


Second Place, Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Ex-Viking Mike Harris upbeat despite congenital brain condition forcing retirement”


Sports Feature Story  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Chris Tomasson, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Latavius Murray: Late best friend ‘will be looking down’ when he takes field for the Vikings”


Judge’s comment

 “A very captivating piece. The lede drew me in and the storytelling had plenty of verve. The quotes tell me that the writer knew to ask the right questions.”


Second Place, Andy Greder, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“It took a village to change the life of Gophers running back Shannon Brooks”


Arts & Entertainment Story  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Sarah Horner, Pioneer Press

“Drug-abuse expert knows how to make meth, and, evidently, meatloaf”


Judge’s comment

 “In “A Way of Thinking ‘Outside the Pan,'” Sarah Horner takes us inside Carol Falkowski’s kitchen to watch the former drug-abuse expert sculpt faces out of meatloaf. It’s as ridiculous and hilarious as you’d expect because of Horner’s attention to detail. Horner steers the reader through this cooking adventure masterfully.”


Second Place, Erica Rivera, City Pages

“Man of constant sorrow: Charlie Parr’s quiet battle to stay alive”

Third Place, Susan Du, City Pages

“One Minneapolis lawyer’s neo-Nazi record label, and the fight to shut it down”


Arts Criticism/Reviews  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Dylan Thomas, Southwest Journal

Art Beat


Judge’s comment

 “This eloquent piece captures the essence of the artist’s work and their goal of delivering an impactful statement on the dangers of plastic in the environment. Well done!”


Arts Criticism/Reviews

Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Keith Harris, City Pages

“Taylor Swift would very much like to exclude us from her narrative”


Judge’s comment

 “Thoughtful article and very fun to read. He does a great job analyzing both Swift and West in a way that was insightful.”


Second Place, Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune

Third Place, Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune


Column  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

“In the kitchen: We found solace, laughter, turkey rollups where the food was”


Judge’s comment

 “Lovely descriptive writing and a great reminder that the best food writing is often about so much more than food.”


Second Place, Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press

“Some good shepherds still around”

Third Place, Robb Murray, Mankato Free Press

“Batter Up: The swing that supercharged a summer”


Column  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Jon Tevlin, Star Tribune

“Giant of Senate is now its ghost”


Judge’s comment

 “Tevlin’s thoughtful piece on Franken’s tarnished political career simultaneously rings the alarm on using social media as the sole platform for revealing sexual harassment allegations. Well done!”


Second Place, Mike Mullen, City Pages

“Capitol Crimes: Minnesota’s ‘new normal’ is a mess”

Third Place, Scott Gillespie, Star Tribune

“The trains and buses that bind”


Editorial  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Brian Hunhoff, Yankton County Observer

“Democracy dies behind closed statehouse doors”


Judge’s comment

“Brian Hunhoff’s editorial clearly and compelling lays out what’s at stake when state lawmakers’ insist on secrecy. It hits all the right notes, illustrating what can go on behind closed doors, such as decisions on Medicaid and teachers’ pay.”


Second Place, Chuck Frederick, Duluth News Tribune

“Ending Sex Trafficking”

Third Place, Joe Spear, Mankato Free Press

“Quarry Blast Needs Robust Investigation”


Editorial  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Editorial Board, Star Tribune

“Downtown’s Dilemma”


Judge’s comment

“This is carefully considered editorial, and clearly deserving of this year’s first-place award in the category. It informs as well as opines, and appears to be the product of research and reporting, instead of merely regurgitating what was already in the news and slapping an opinion on it”


Second Place, Patricia Effenberger, Pioneer Press

“Beneath the turmoil: heart and civic muscle”


Graphics/Art and Illustration  Newspaper LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Ben Ramsden, Steve Thomas, Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal   

“One of Minnesota’s greatest champions”          


Judge’s comment

 “It’s not easy making old white businessmen into compelling lead art. It’s also not easy to make business news – as important as it is – clean and clear looking. Here’s how you do that, if anyone else is curious.”


Graphics/Art and Illustration  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Emily Utne, City Pages

“Picked to Click 2017”


Judge’s comment

 “The page layout is a clean balance of skilled typography, original photography, and effective overall layout. The design is fairly minimalist, allowing the graphics present to shine without challenging other elements on the page.”


Second Place, Brandon Ferrill, Mark Boswell, Josh Penrod, Derek Simmons, Star Tribune

“Executive Compensation Report”

Third Place, Chrissy Ashack, Star Tribune

“The hippies were right”


Page Design  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Ben Ramsden, Nick Halter, Dirk DeYoung, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

“The X Games”

Second Place, Valerie Moe, Southwest Journal

“Diners’ delight”

Third Place, Casey Selix, David Bohlander, Finance & Commerce        

“Restoring the Glory”


Page Design  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Derek Simmons, Greg Mees, Ross Bruggink, Star Tribune

“Celebrating Minnesota Culture”

Second Place, Greg Mees, Deb Pastner, Josh       Penrod, Derek Simmons, Star Tribune

“The Inauguration of Donald Trump      


Headlines  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Casey Selix, Finance & Commerce

“Sink or swim in amenities race,” “Sparkle fading for “starchitects,” “Another tall order for Edina”


Judge’s comment

 “The headlines are concise and to the point. They’re straight ahead and informative. The play on words are clever but not distractingly so, and invite the reader in without overplayed tease”


Second Place, Jeff Sjerven, Finance & Commerce

“Deconstructing buildings, reconstructing lives; Mississippi has inside lane for auto plant”

Third Place, Brian Hunhoff, Yankton County Observer

“Three cheers to Tabor triplets as graduation nears; Opponents flunk Medicaid math; Yankton’s vital signs past and present”


Headlines  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Staff, Star Tribune


Judge’s comment

 “The three headlines in this entry from the Star Tribune were pithy, informative and intriguing without being “too cute.” The writers and editors were clearly in synch with the desk on these stories – no small accomplishment for any staff. Congratulations for that, and for these fine headlines!”


Second Place, Catherine Preus, Star Tribune       

Third Place, Kevin Cusick, St. Paul Pioneer Press


Best Issue  Newspaper – LESS than 50,000 circulation

First Place, Newsroom staff Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

August 18, 2017 Edition


Judge’s comment

 “This is more than just a slick design and a record of business developments. The journalism here matters, and not just to the stereotypical business reader.”


Second Place, Newsroom staff, Mankato Free Press

Jan. 29, 2017 edition

Third Place, Kristal Leebrick, Stephen Parker, Park Bugle

November 2017


Best issue  Newspaper – 50,000+ circulation

First Place, Star Tribune staff


Judge’s comment

“In an era where it’s not impossible to imagine Sunday newspapers disappearing just as Sunday magazines did, the Star Tribune does a solid job cover to cover keeping itself relevant – and giving their readers many reasons to get newsprint on their hands on the Lord’s Day, instead of tapping on their phone.”


Star Tribune Best Issue 091717

Second Place, Star Tribune staff

Star Tribune Best Issue 120817

2018 Page One Awards in Magazine Journalism


MNSPJ congratulates all the winners recognized Thursday night at the annual Page One Awards!  Here’s a list of winners for excellence in magazine journalism.


Best Profile Story


First Place, Steve Lange, Rochester Magazine

“Rocket Man”


Judge’s comment

“It is deeply difficult to write well about an untested young person. Adding sports to that mix is another challenge. Mr. Lange deftly creates excitement and ethos in unexpected but pleasing ways in this profile.”


Second Place, Kim Ode, Star Tribune

“Michele Tafoya in a Man’s World”

Third Place, Amelia Rayno, Star Tribune

“King Of Cold”


Best Feature Story


First Place, Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune

“The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham”


Judge’s comment

“Good reporting that lead to good writing with a strong sense of place and ear for dialogue and detail.”


Second Place, Paul Scott, Rochester Magazine


Third Place, Doug Hennes, St Thomas Magazine

“Pulitzer Proud”


Best Department


First Place, Gail Rosenblum, Star Tribune

“Afraid to Ask”


Judge’s comment

“This department grabs the readers attention with the old “asking for a friend” concept. This space does an excellent job of asking socially awkward questions that everyone has wondered about. I love that this department adds both service and quirk to the publication’s lineup.”


Second Place, Jennifer Koski, Rochester Magazine

“Random Rochesterite”

Third Place, Chris Marshall, Jeff Jacobson, Woodworker’s Journal

“Tricks of the Trade”


Best Column


First Place, Dale Kurschner, Twin Cities Business           

“Editor’s Note”

Second Place, Nell Musolf, Mankato Magazine

“That’s Life”


Best Cover


First Place, Emily Utne, City Pages

“Till Death Do Us Part”


Judge’s comment

“This edgy, spare, elegant cover invites (demands, really) readers to turn the page and start reading. I really want to know what happened to Elisa Gomez now, too!”


Second Place, Mike Ekern, St. Thomas Magazine Winter 2017

Third Place, Lisa Houghton, Rochester Magazine

Best Restaurants


Best Page Design


First Place, Staff Star Tribune         

“Photos of the Year”


Judge’s comment

“Working with so many images, it’s easy for the reader to get lost. But the placement of photos, the photos chosen to be full page, etc. was done artfully and made it easy to read and enjoy the beautiful photography.”


Second Place, Valerie Moe, Minnesota Good Age

“Mozart’s Salzburg”


Graphics/Art and illustration


First Place, Star Tribune Staff         

“Prince Inc.”

Second Place, Troy Becker, Perham Focus

“2017 Progress: The Year of Retail”

Third Place, Jeff Jacobson, Woodworker’s Journal

Mini Tabletop Workbench


Best Issue


First Place, Nick Woltman, Molly Ballis, St. Paul Pioneer Press



Judge’s comment

“This WWI anniversary edition isn’t a magazine in the traditional sense. But it localizes the Great War to Minnesota – and it pulls no punches.”


Second Place, Star Tribune staff

Star Tribune, Dayton/December Issue

Third Place, Brian Brown, Patty Petersen, Mike Ekern, Sara Klomp 

St. Thomas magazine, Winter 2017