Posted by Scott MacDonald

A team of Star Tribune journalists was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist recently in the local reporting category for a series of stories on Minnesota’s widespread failings in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault.

Brandon Stahl, Jennifer Bjorhus, MaryJo Webster and Renée Jones Schneider were selected as finalists for the nine-part series “Denied Justice,” which has spurred local and statewide changes in how police handle sex crimes.

The team analyzed more than 1,500 reports of sexual assault to shed light on the chronic errors plaguing most rape investigations.

Pulitzer judges praised the “illuminating and disturbing” series for exposing how such breakdowns in Minnesota’s handling of rape cases failed victims of sexual assault.

Jennifer Bjorhus is a reporter for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis now covering the environment. She’s been at the Star Tribune for ten years, covering business and criminal justice. She was named Journalist of the Year in 2018 by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She started in journalism as a general assignment reporter at the Seattle Times and covered a range of business beats at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Oregonian and the San Jose Mercury News. A native of Minnesota, she graduated from Carleton College in 1986 and the University of California-Berkeley in 1994 with master’s degrees in Journalism and Asian Studies. She lives in St. Paul with her husband Ranjit. They have two sons and a cat named Coco.
 
MaryJo Webster has been the data editor at the Star Tribune since 2015. Prior to that she worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for about nine years, and has had stints at USA Today, the Center for Public Integrity, Investigative Reporters and Editors and small daily papers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Arden Hills with her husband and 10-year-old twins.
 
Brandon Stahl is the federal courts and agencies reporter for the Star Tribune. He previously covered Hennepin county courts and was an investigative reporter at the paper, writing extensively about criminal justice, police and child protection. 
 
Plan to join us to hear how Jennifer, MaryJo and Brandon's journalistic efforts enhance our own Rotary club mission to curb Human Trafficking. Lunch with our program begins promptly at 12:15 pm and ends at 1:30 pm sharp. It is held at the Edina Country Club, 5101 Wooddale Avenue, Edina. Fellow Rotarians and guests are encouraged and welcome to attend. Cost is $20 covering lunch and program costs. We look forward to seeing you.