MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A pair of investigative stories by Fox 9’s Tom Lyden earned first place awards at the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists 2016 Page One Awards.
FIRST PLACE - INVESTIGATIVE - 'CONNECTING THE DOTS'
Lyden and photojournalists Tyler Ryan and Brian Wiedeke earned a first place award in the Investigative category for “Connecting the Dots” – an in-depth look at the recruitment of young men from the Twin Cities to join terrorist organizations overseas. The judges commented that this was “a fascinating piece.” Lyden found a Minnesota man (Amir Meshal) who the Department of Homeland Security says has the “operational capacity” to carry out a terror attack. Meshal’s name resurfaced during the high-profile trial of 3 Minnesota men accused of plotting to join ISIS in Syria.
READ/WATCH THE STORY – Connecting the Dots
FIRST PLACE - HARD NEWS REPORT - 'LIFERS?'
Lyden and Ryan also earned first place in the Hard News Report category for “Lifers?” The Fox 9 Investigators found 132 inmates serving life sentences for first-degree murder will be coming up for parole and supervised release review in the next 5 years, a backlog that’s been building up in the prison system for decades.
“This story fits the definition of hard news,” the judges commented. “A good, investigative piece that highlights the emotion of the decisions, but also a look at why the decisions are being made without judgment.”
READ/WATCH THE STORY – Lifers?
THIRD PLACE - FEATURE - 'LINE OF DUTY'
Lyden, Ryan and photojournalist John Cottew were also honored with third place in the Feature category for “Line of Duty.” Four months before he was killed in the line of duty, Officer Scott Patrick filed a lawsuit against the City of Mendota Heights, claiming whistleblower harassment and workplace retaliation. His widow, Michelle, filed a motion to keep the lawsuit alive after her husband's death. It wasn't until then that she discovered the extent and magnitude of the trouble he was having at work.
READ/WATCH THE STORY – Line of Duty
See a full list of SPJ Page One winners at http://www.mnspj.org.