The Society for American Business Editors and Writers awarded the Star Tribune's business section the award for general excellence for its size category for 2016 coverage.

"The Star Tribune delivered stories of both national and local importance and stood above other entries for consistently demonstrating a sustained level of excellence," judges said.

Judges noted news stories on Carlson's sale of its Radisson hotels and the firing of Starkey Technologies executives that led to criminal complaints, an investigation into Medtronic's concealment of a study on its Infuse product and a watchdog report on Uber.

Reporter Adam Belz also won a top award in the economics category for his "Rising from Poverty" series.

"The series deploys data, graphics, photography, and design very effectively — and sustains that deployment over the course of three deeply reported pieces," judges wrote. "The theme is also surprising: Far from being a neglected place without hope and riven by opioids, rural America can be the place with the greatest prospect of social mobility. And surprise is what news is all about."

Columnist Lee Schafer won an honorable mention in commentary/opinion category.

"Schafer's miniseries on the challenges affecting mining in Minnesota impressed the judges for its knowledge, depth and focus on what recent developments mean for the state's inhabitants," the judges said.

The SABEW awards were revamped this year to reflect how business journalism has changed. The categories now include all types of publications, including online-only operations. To accommodate the change, the categories are now determined by size of staff instead of circulation or ratings.

The Star Tribune was competing in the medium-sized publication category based on staff size. The runner-up for general excellence was the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Los Angeles Times won for general excellence in the large publication category.