News Tribune honored in national journalism contestOne of the nation’s top journalism competitions has honored the News Tribune for its investigative series about a former St. Luke’s hospital neurosurgeon who left Duluth after incurring numerous malpractice suits and a medical board disciplinary action to set up practice in another state.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
One of the nation’s top journalism competitions has honored the News Tribune for its investigative series about a former St. Luke’s hospital neurosurgeon who left Duluth after incurring numerous malpractice suits and a medical board disciplinary action to set up practice in another state.
“The Case of Dr. Konasiewicz,” by investigative editor Brandon Stahl and reporter Mark Stodghill, was named a finalist in the community journalism category of the 2011 Scripps Howard Awards announced today. The national competition garners entries from hundreds of newspapers and broadcast media outlets.
The winner in the community journalism category was Sara Ganim of the Patriot-News of Mechanicsburg, Pa., for a two-year investigative series, “Jerry Sandusky and Penn State,” that led to nationwide coverage of the university’s child sexual abuse scandal. Also named as a finalist was the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H., for its coverage of “Tropical Storm Irene: The Aftermath.”
“The Scripps Howard Awards are the Golden Globes to the Pulitzers’ Oscars,” said News Tribune editor Robin Washington, who in 2005 served as a juror of editorial page entries. “I know how tough they are and the amazing accomplishments of dozens of entries that don’t make it to the end. To be named as a finalist, especially in the same breath as the woman who broke the Jerry Sandusky story, is truly humbling and a testament of the incredible work Brandon and Mark did in bringing this significant story to light.”
The News Tribune series examined how Dr. Stefan Konasiewicz continued practicing at St. Luke’s for years despite malpractice settlements and questions about his skills that eventually led the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice to discipline him. He then moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where other patients claimed he harmed them before he left the practice.
St. Luke’s and its CEO, John Strange, have sued the News Tribune, saying the stories were false and defamatory. The News Tribune has denied those claims. The lawsuit is still pending.
Among other awards in the contest’s 17 categories were an investigative journalism prize to the New York Times for “Abused and Used,” a yearlong examination of more than 2,000 state-run homes for the developmentally disabled; the Arizona Republic for its breaking news coverage of the January 2011 shooting in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; and the Wall Street Journal for a five-part series exposing pervasive mismanagement in the Social Security Disability Insurance system.
Scripps Howard honorees often echo those of the Pulitzer Prizes, which are announced in April. The Scripps Howard winners and finalists will be recognized at a ceremony on April 26 in Detroit.Funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation with prizes up to $15,000, the awards were established in 1953 to recognize the best work in the communications industry and journalism education each year.