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”