Stripes' military reporting earns two awards

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2010

WASHINGTON — Stars and Stripes news coverage has been recognized by the Military Reporters and Editors organization with two awards in its annual journalism contest.

Korea-based correspondent Jon Rabiroff won first place in the Overseas Coverage/Small Publication category for his probing reporting last year that detailed the exploitation of young Filipina women working at South Korean “juicy bars” that cater to U.S. soldiers.

The stories “cast a bright journalistic light on one of the often-unmentioned aspects of life near a U.S. military base in South Korea — prostitution in establishments known as ‘juicy bars,’ ” the judges wrote in their citation for the award. “In an investigation that drew on sources from three governments, Rabiroff reported that young Filipino women are lured to South Korea on the premise of becoming singers and dancers, but are forced to work in bars that sell juice for $10 a glass, and the women have to do much more if they don’t meet certain quotas. After the stories appeared, the Philippine government took steps to try to safeguard its young women from the sex trade.”

The staff of Stars and Stripes won first place in the Domestic Coverage/Small Publication category for the newspaper’s revelations last year about the military’s practice of “profiling” reporters who seek to accompany U.S. troops during missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Stars and Stripes uncovered a Defense Department program to profile journalists, using The Rendon Group — a military contractor,” the judges wrote. “The program’s intent was to shape coverage of the war in Afghanistan and deny access to reporters whose work was too negative. Because of the stories, the Defense Department canceled the program.”

Stars and Stripes’ coverage of the profiling program was recognized earlier this year with a Polk Award and a National Headliner Award.