Twin Cities photographer, FOI champion are among the top honorees at 2011 Page One Awards from Minnesota SPJ

For Immediate Release
June 8,2011

St. Paul Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin’s arresting photos of a shelter for down-and-out alcoholics helped propel him to be honored as the Journalist of the Year by the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The honor is among the new Page One Awards this year. Other top honors go to Pioneer Press reporters for the Story of the Year, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s John Vomhof, Jr. for Young Journalist of the Year, and City Pages‘ Nick Pinto for Best Use of Public Records. The chapter bestowed more than 170 awards overall, recognizing the best in Minnesota journalism during 2010.

Minnesota SPJ also honored long-time First Amendment and public access champion Jane Kirtley with the 2011 Peter S. Popovich Award for Freedom of Information. Kirtley is director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. She is an outspoken advocate for the public’s right to access government to hold elected and administrative officials accountable. She pushes for openness and transparency in the United States and abroad. She recently returned from Azerbaijan where she advocated for American First Amendment-style reforms for the struggling government.

“There isn’t one single event or action that we as a board could point to in nominating Jane for this award, but rather her impressive body of work, throughout her career, is worthy of notice,” said Minnesota SPJ President Sarah Bauer at Tuesday evening’s award banquet.

Governor Mark Dayton was the keynote speaker at the annual Page One Banquet, where the winners were announced. Dayton spoke about the need to protect Minnesota’s education system, his frustration with what he portrays as inflexible freshmen Republican legislators, and his surprise at the media interest in his dog, Wanamingo.

About the Page One Awards
The Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honors the best in journalism each year with the Page One Awards. The entries are all shipped to different cities for judging to avoid conflict of interest. The 2011 awards entries were judged in Seattle, Detroit and Connecticut.