Sahan Journal is the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing authentic news reporting for and about immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. Credit: Mukhtar M. Ibrahim | Sahan Journal

Sahan Journal has been selected as a finalist for a pair of national journalism awards to be decided in October.

The Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, an association of more than 300 independent online media operations, has selected Sahan in the “Emerging Publisher” category. LION Publishers recognize an outstanding entrepreneur who launched a new independent news site since July 1, 2019.

Sahan is also a finalist for the “Local That Works” grand prize from Current, a nonprofit news service that covers public media, including public radio and TV. The contest recognizes innovative and replicable projects in content, engagement, and revenue.

Mukhtar Ibrahim launched Sahan in August 2019 as a nonprofit Minnesota newsroom dedicated to covering news stories by, for, and about new Americans. 

Since its founding, Sahan has emerged as an innovator in the field of digital nonprofit journalism with strong community support, and a young, diverse readership. Its five-person newsroom has constantly produced stories that shed light on the lives and experiences of Minnesota’s new Americans.

In June, Sahan won first place in the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Best Single News Story” category for its coverage of drug overdoses in the East African community

Judges in the SPJ contest praised the piece as “a moving, well-sourced story that puts multiple, local faces on [an] important issue to this community.” 

Since January, Sahan has produced more than 250 news and enterprise stories about COVID-19, the George Floyd killing, immigration, education, culture, religion, and more.

Sahan has also garnered strong support from readers and nonprofit foundations including the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Knight Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project.

The other finalists for LION’s Emerging Publisher award are Austonia, a Texas nonprofit that covers “all things Austin”; The Beacon, a Kansas City–based nonprofit news outlet reporting about Kansas and Missouri; and Main Street Daily News, an independent online news site telling the story of Gainesville and Alachua County, in Florida. 

LION will announce a winner during an October 22 virtual ceremony.

The Current’s “Local That Works” contest drew 133 submissions, competing for a $20,000 prize. More than 100 of these entries came from public radio and public TV stations, including large and established stations such as WNYC in New York, and KQED in San Francisco.

The other finalists for Current’s “Local That Works” include Detroit Public Television for COVID313, a series of town halls; KALW-FM in the the San Francisco Bay Area for Uncuffed, a radio production training program inside prisons; KQED for California Reporting Project, a journalism collaboration investigating police misconduct; and Maine Public for The Learning Space, a series of video lessons from the state’s teacher of the year winners.

Member stations and organizations of Current will vote for the contest winner in a live ceremony on October 22.

Sahan Journal is the only independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit digital newsroom dedicated to providing authentic news reporting for and about immigrants and refugees in Minnesota.