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Swenson wins Premack Award for opinion writing

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Bemidji Pioneer and opinion writer Brad Swenson are recipients of a 2010 Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award, it was announced Saturday.

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The Premack Award for excellence in opinion journalism for smaller organizations went to the Bemidji Pioneer's Opinion Page Editor Swenson for his piece, "Election Issues: Rural Health Care."

The editorial, which ran last June, was about then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty's refusal to sign an authorization for Minnesota to join an enhanced Medicaid program, bringing $180 million in new money to Minnesota. The piece provided comment on what that meant to Bemidji.

Premack judges in the category said of the piece: "The editorial takes on the complex topic of medical care for the indigent and meticulously but succinctly explains its impact on Bemidji. The piece builds powerfully to its unerring conclusion."

It was the third Premack Award for Swenson, having won two in 2009, including the Graven Award, given each year to members of the journalistic community whose contribution to excellence in the journalism profession has deserved special recognition. This year's Graven Award winner is Gary Eichten, producer of MPR's "Midday" and its host.

Swenson also won the Premack Award's excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs for smaller organization for a piece on U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-7th District, on constructing the farm bill.

Swenson serves as the Pioneer's opinion page and political editor, and is a 30-year employee of the newspaper.

The Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award competition is one of Minnesota's most coveted and celebrated journalism honors. Started after the death in 1975 of Frank Premack, a reporter, city editor and assistant managing editor at the Minneapolis Tribune, the competition has recognized Minnesota media doing public affairs journalism in their community or region for more than 30 years.

An award ceremony, sponsored by the Minnesota Journalism Center at the University of Minnesota, is April 18.

Other winners are:

E Excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs (larger organizations): Star Tribune and staff for coverage of an apartment fire.

E George S. Hage Award for excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs (smaller organizations): Twin Cities Daily Planet, reporter Molly Priesmeyer and editor Mary Turck about "troubled waters" at the University of Minnesota.

E Excellence in investigative or analytical reporting about public affairs (larger organizations): Star Tribune reporters Jim Spencer and Tom Meersman for "Losing Our Lakes."

E Excellence in investigative or analyitical reporting about public affairs (smaller organizations): St. Cloud Times reporters Britt Johnsen and Kristi Marohn for "Gambling on Growth."

E Excellence in opinion journalism (larger organizations): St. Cloud Times opinion page editor Randy Krebs for "Words Matter Over Opinion."

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Bemidji Pioneer and opinion writer Brad Swenson are recipients of a 2010 Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award, it was announced Saturday.

The Premack Award for excellence in opinion journalism for smaller organizations went to the Bemidji Pioneer's Opinion Page Editor Swenson for his piece, "Election Issues: Rural Health Care."

The editorial, which ran last June, was about then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty's refusal to sign an authorization for Minnesota to join an enhanced Medicaid program, bringing $180 million in new money to Minnesota. The piece provided comment on what that meant to Bemidji.

Premack judges in the category said of the piece: "The editorial takes on the complex topic of medical care for the indigent and meticulously but succinctly explains its impact on Bemidji. The piece builds powerfully to its unerring conclusion."

It was the third Premack Award for Swenson, having won two in 2009, including the Graven Award, given each year to members of the journalistic community whose contribution to excellence in the journalism profession has deserved special recognition. This year's Graven Award winner is Gary Eichten, producer of MPR's "Midday" and its host.

Swenson also won the Premack Award's excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs for smaller organization for a piece on U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, DFL-7th District, on constructing the farm bill.

Swenson serves as the Pioneer's opinion page and political editor, and is a 30-year employee of the newspaper.

The Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award competition is one of Minnesota's most coveted and celebrated journalism honors. Started after the death in 1975 of Frank Premack, a reporter, city editor and assistant managing editor at the Minneapolis Tribune, the competition has recognized Minnesota media doing public affairs journalism in their community or region for more than 30 years.

An award ceremony, sponsored by the Minnesota Journalism Center at the University of Minnesota, is April 18.

Other winners are:

- Excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs (larger organizations): Star Tribune and staff for coverage of an apartment fire.

- George S. Hage Award for excellence in coverage of breaking news about public affairs (smaller organizations): Twin Cities Daily Planet, reporter Molly Priesmeyer and editor Mary Turck about "troubled waters" at the University of Minnesota.

- Excellence in investigative or analytical reporting about public affairs (larger organizations): Star Tribune reporters Jim Spencer and Tom Meersman for "Losing Our Lakes."

- Excellence in investigative or analyitical reporting about public affairs (smaller organizations): St. Cloud Times reporters Britt Johnsen and Kristi Marohn for "Gambling on Growth."

- Excellence in opinion journalism (larger organizations): St. Cloud Times opinion page editor Randy Krebs for "Words Matter Over Opinion."

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