Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

On June 12th, 2022, The Outlaw Ocean Music Project received the 2021 Award for Excellence in Innovation from the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Competition for this award is fierce and the Scripps Howard Foundation is among the largest and most prominent organizations supporting journalism today. About the music project, the judges for the award said:

This trailblazing experiment aimed to solve one of the daunting puzzles for the future of journalism, how to reach and engage young people.

We have always been extremely proud of The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. More than 415 musicians from over 50 countries have already published albums in classical, rap, electronic, reggae and jazz using sound from our reporting and imagery from the stories.

Launched in 2020 by Ian Urbina, director and founder of The Outlaw Ocean Project, the goal of the project is to recruit help from hundreds of musicians around the world to disseminate our journalism to a bigger audience. But to be more exact, the goal has three parts: 1) reach a different audience (especially younger and non-english); 2) reach this audience in a different way (especially more emotionally); 3) reach this audience using different platforms (especially non-traditional news platforms like Spotify or other non-news hubs).

The larger proof of concept here is that art—whether murals, animations, stage performance, stop-motion, graphic novels, or music—can greatly help journalism diversify and expand its impact.

Learn More about the Journalism

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

Learn More