The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma announced today that two ProPublica stories, “Terror in Little Saigon” and “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” were finalists for their Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma.
Reported by A.C. Thompson, in partnership with PBS Frontline, Terror in Little Saigon revealed a political death squad that operated in the United States – murdering journalists, firebombing businesses, and terrorizing untold others – for more than a decade with total impunity. The outfit was run by former South Vietnamese military men who, having fled to America, decided their war with Communists wasn’t quite over. These men enforced a brutal code: anyone in America evincing sympathy for the Communist victors in Vietnam was a potential target for execution. The FBI, alerted to the possible presence of the death squad early on, never made a single arrest in what today remains one of the most significant unsolved domestic terrorism cases in the bureau’s history.
A collaboration between ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller and The Marshall Project’s Ken Armstrong, An Unbelievable Story of Rape chronicled the case of an 18-year-old woman outside Seattle who reported being raped at knifepoint. The police didn’t believe her. Worse, they coerced her into saying she had invented the story, leading her to plead guilty to filing a false report. The rapist remained free to victimize other women until, at last, two female detectives in Colorado solved the case.
This year’s Dart Award winners were the Associated Press for “The Other Disappeared” and the Washington Post for “A Survivor’s Life.” See a list of all Dart Award honorees here.