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VOA Wins Military Reporters and Editors Association Award

Gabon is home to more than half of the forest elephants in Africa, where park rangers fight poaching.
Gabon is home to more than half of the forest elephants in Africa, where park rangers fight poaching.

Voice of America’s Pentagon correspondent, Carla Babb, together with Betty Ayoub, Ricci Shryock, Tatiana Mossot and Laurence Gomez of the VOA Africa division and Elizabeth Arrott of the VOA News Center, won the 2021 Military Reporters and Editors Association award for best journalism in the Television International or Domestic - Large Market category for “VOA Special Report: Saving Gabon’s Forest Elephants.” The VOA News Center and Africa Division collaborated on the project.

Gabon, home to more than half of Africa's forest elephants, is at the center of the counter-poaching fight. Carla Babb, the first journalist to embed with the U.S. military on a counter-poaching mission, followed a small U.S. Army team training Gabonese park rangers where she got an inside look into the fight to save Gabon’s forest elephants. Filmed just over a year ago, the mini documentary featured one of the last counter-poaching efforts by the U.S. military in Africa before the pandemic put these programs on hold.

The MRE judges called the report, “a highly informative story about illegal elephant poaching in the African nation of Gabon and how the U.S. military is helping train Gabonese park rangers to better protect the animals and capture poachers. The story is thoroughly reported and artfully edited using informative graphics and superb cinematography.”

“Congratulations to Carla Babb and the entire VOA team that was able to shed light on the very cruel practice of poaching,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda Lόpez. “This award is a testament to Voice of America’s dedication to bringing powerful stories to our global audience.”

Through its journalism competition, the Military Reporters and Editors Association, the preeminent organization for U.S. media professionals specializing in national security, recognizes outstanding military reporting in six categories: print and online news reporting, photography, television, radio, commentary, and student project.