Sahan Journal's news staff poses for a photo in downtown St. Paul in fall 2021. Credit: Ben Hovland.

Sahan Journal reporter Hibah Ansari received the Young Journalist of the Year Award at the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Page One Awards ceremony Thursday evening.

In a ceremony at St. Paul’s Como Lakeside Pavilion, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) awarded Sahan Journal a total of seven awards. The ceremony recognized the “best of journalism during a challenging year” in print, broadcast and online news in Minnesota. 

Judges called Ansari’s work “excellent for a reporter at any stage in their career, even more so for someone starting out. The future looks bright for this talented reporter, as well as her readers.” They highlighted Ansari’s reporting on challenges Muslim homebuyers face in the real estate market and her breaking news coverage of a potential federal prosecutor’s appointment.

“Hibah was able to tell such stories because of her commitment to building relationships with sources–including many people who haven’t been heard or represented accurately by other news sources,” Sahan Journal editorial director Michael Tortorello wrote in Ansari’s nomination letter.

Ansari covers immigration and local government for Sahan Journal. She is a Report for America fellow and a recent graduate of Columbia University.

Since its founding in 2019, Sahan Journal has provided groundbreaking news coverage by and for Minnesota’s immigrants and communities of color. 

“Sahan Journal is known for producing responsive and community-centered news coverage that reflects the changing face of Minnesota,” said Mukhtar Ibrahim, Sahan Journal’s founder and executive editor. “It’s gratifying to have our unique journalism recognized by our peers.”

Sahan Journal photographer Jaida Grey Eagle won first place for best news photography for a photo of a truck rally disrupting a memorial vigil in Olivia, Minnesota. She also won third place for best portrait photography for a photo of children’s author Zinet Kemal.

Sahan received first place for best online newsletter, honorable mention for beat reporting by education reporter Becky Dernbach, second place for an editorial by freelancer May Lee-Yang on the killing of Hmong women, and second place for arts and entertainment coverage for a story by freelancer Alex V. Cipolle about a photographer who takes portraits of queer, immigrant Minnesotans.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Sahan Journal’s small, but dedicated and mission-driven staff,” Mukhtar added.

The full list of winners is available here.