The editorial staff of GoMN won three Page One Awards for journalism excellence on Thursday. Two of the wins were tied to GoMN's in-depth portrait of Marisa "Ana Maria" Bocanegra, a Colombia-born Minnesotan who was a victim of human trafficking.
Bocanegra was kidnapped when she was just hours old and placed into an adoption program illegally. Through that she was taken in by the Minnesota family that would raise her. For decades, Bocanegra had no idea who her birth mother was.
She met her Colombian family through video chat in 2014 thanks to a Colombian private investigator – and two years later her mother and brother came to the U.S. to visit her in person.
GoMN's Shaymus McLaughlin and Josette Elieff received first-place honors in the Page One Awards' Online category for Best Continuing Coverage, as well as Best News Video for their four-part video series documenting Ana Maria's search, a supporting article about her struggle – as well as the family's emotional reunion 39 years in the making.
The celebration was cut short, however, when Bocanegra was tragically killed in a car accident.
Here's part one of the entire series.
More about the awards
GoMN's Facebook page also received second place in in the Online category for Best Social Media Account - Institutional.
Held by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Page One Awards "recognizes the best in Minnesota journalism each year." According to the MN SPJ website, the Minnesota chapter began in 1956.
The awards ceremony featured a talk by Hannah Allam, a journalist with Minnesota ties who covers works for BuzzFeed News covering U.S. Muslim life.