2019 John R. Finnegan FOI Award Ceremony Announcement


MNCOGI’s board is pleased to announce that this year’s John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award will honor the Star Tribune team of Brandon Stahl, Jennifer Bjorhus, MaryJo Webster and Renee Jones Schneider for outstanding work on the nine-part series “Denied Justice,” published in July through December 2018. The articles exposed the mishandling of rape cases across Minnesota and showed how the state’s justice system is failing victims of rape. To accomplish that public service, the reporting team made extensive use of Minnesota law requiring most inactive criminal investigative files to be open to the public.

In nominating the team of journalists for the award, MNCOGI board member Don Gemberling wrote: “These stories have already led various criminal justice organizations to change policies and procedures on how sexual assaults are handled. The series caused the creation of statewide task forces to examine and make changes how the system handles sex crimes. Largely because of this reporting, the state Police Officers Standards and Training Board has issued new required standards for how police officers are trained and how they should handle reports of sexual assault in the future. Most importantly, the work of these reports has caused the Legislature to more closely examine the issues that were raised and to begin a process of amending Minnesota Statutes to address and to fix problems identified by the stories.”

Contact:  MNCOGI Chair Gary Hill

Finnegan Award Ceremony

When: Noon – 1PM on Thursday, March 14th
WhereRondo Community Library – 461 N Dale St., Saint Paul
RSVP: Click Here

The award ceremony will include a keynote by MaryJo Webster. All four winners of the Finnegan Award will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Don Gemberling.

Boxed lunches will be provided for those who RSVP.