BLOOMINGTON—The Timberjay received awards for both reporting and editorials in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s statewide newspaper contest held in conjunction with the association’s convention in Bloomington.
In competition against all Minnesota newspapers, the Timberjay took the top award in the Freedom of Information category for its continuing reporting and legal fight regarding Johnson Controls Inc. and its work for the St. Louis County School District.
The Timberjay also took second place for Best Explanation of News Operations or Newspaper Ethics, for Marshall Helmberger’s opinion piece explaining why the paper was continuing its legal battle with JCI.
The Timberjay also took first place among weeklies over 2,500 circulation in Best Investigative Reporting, for the story “New school falls far short on promised energy savings” by Timberjay editors Marshall Helmberger and Tom Klein. The story compared the operational cost of ISD 2142’s new South Ridge School with the former schools, Cotton and AlBrook, that the new school replaced. While JCI, the company that designed and built the schools, claimed the new building would be cheaper to operate than the schools it replaced, an examination of utility bills found that the new building cost more to operate than both of the former schools combined.
“This is watchdog journalism at its best as the newspaper went back and checked how well the school system did in delivering the savings it promised in campaigning for a bond issue,” wrote the judges. “It turns out the schools didn’t do all that well.”
The Timberjay also took third place in the Editorial Page as a Whole category among weeklies with circulations of 2,501-5,000.
Timberjay editors Marshall Helmberger and Scott Stowell took third place in the Local Breaking News Coverage category among weeklies of circulations between 2,501 and 5,000 for their combined coverage of the Pagami Creek fire.