Star Tribune reporter Jennifer Bjorhus, whose “Shielded by the Badge” series revealed that the state had failed to discipline hundreds of police officers convicted of criminal offenses, on Thursday was named Journalist of the Year by the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Bjorhus’ award was one of several won by the Star Tribune and presented at the Page One Awards dinner, held at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul.
“Left to Suffer,” a series by the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres and David Joles that documented the abuse of elderly residents in Minnesota’s senior homes, was named Story of the Year. James Shiffer, a Star Tribune editor and writer of the “Secrecy Rules” column, won first place for Best Use of Public Records.
Star Tribune staffers took top honors in other newspaper categories, including breaking news, business, editorial, enterprise, feature, investigative and sports writing, as well as for design and photography. The Star Tribune Magazine, which was launched last year, won four first-place awards.
Other news organizations, including Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), MinnPost, the Mankato Free Press, KARE-TV, KFAI Community Radio and City Pages, which is owned by the Star Tribune, won in various categories.
MinnPost’s Sam Brodey was named Young Journalist of the Year and KARE-TV investigative reporter A.J. Lagoe won first place for Best Beat Reporting. Briana Bierschbach, of MPR and MinnPost, won an award for ongoing coverage of sexual harassment in the Legislature.
A residents’ group in Victoria won the Peter S. Popovich Award for their successful efforts to gain access to critical City Council documents.
Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham, who moved to Red Lake County in northwestern Minnesota after dismissing the county as “the absolute worst place to live in America,” delivered the keynote speech for the awards dinner. The Society of Professional Journalists is the largest and oldest journalism organization in the United States. The Minnesota chapter was founded in 1956.