Ian Urbina Granted the Christopher Dickey Award for Journalistic Excellence

The Christopher Dickey Award celebrates accomplishment in human rights journalism.

Washington D.C., Jan. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FilmAid International awarded the Christopher Dickey Award for Journalistic Excellence to Ian Urbina at a ceremony in New York City in October 2021. The award was presented by the actor Mark Ruffalo, a longtime supporter of Urbina’s work. 

Ian Urbina is the founder and director of The Outlaw Ocean Project, a non-profit news organization based in Washington D.C. that covers human rights and environmental crimes at sea globally. 

In the United States, The Outlaw Ocean Project publishes its stories in various news outlets, including the New Yorker, NBC News, The Atlantic and The Washington Post. The non-profit partners with foreign newspapers, magazines, radio and television venues in more than 40 other countries to translate the reporting and expand its global reach. To reach a younger and more international audience, the organization leverages non-news platforms, collaborating with artists to convert the reporting into other forms such as music, animation, podcast and more.

In 2021, The Outlaw Ocean Project produced the story “Purgatory at Sea” for The Atlantic about migrants held in quarantine off the coast of Italy on repurposed cruise ships. In 2020, the organization partnered with NBC News to expose the world’s largest fleet of illegal fishing boats ever discovered, operating invisibly in North Korean waters. For this investigation, The Outlaw Ocean Project received the Sigma Award for Excellence in Data Journalism. 

Before leaving to start his own journalism organization, Ian Urbina was an award-winning investigative journalist at the Times for 17 years. 

During his time with the Times, he wrote stories about scourge of diabetes, traveling teenagers debt bonded into selling magazine subscriptions, and the New York Governor’s use of prostitutes. Among the series he produced was one called “Drilling Down” about the environmental, labor and financial risks of fracking and another called “Running in the Shadows” about runaways recruited into sex work. 

Ian Urbina was on a team of journalists who revealed a New York governor’s use of prostitutes in a story that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting.

One story revealed how the U.S. Department of Defense uses federal prison inmates to work in factories producing everything from soldier uniforms and helmets to missile parts and parachutes. Another story exposed federal plans to use prisoners for pharmaceutical experiments. Yet another investigation revealed that civilian detainees who were undocumented immigrants were being held in solitary confinement, sometimes for years. 

Ian Urbina was recognized by FilmAid International, an organization that partners with young people experiencing war, poverty and displacement to produce and amplify their stories through the medium of film.

The award celebrates a career in journalism. 

About The Outlaw Ocean Project:

The Outlaw Ocean Project is a non-profit journalism organization that produces investigative stories about human rights and environmental concerns on the two thirds of the planet covered by water. 

One of the limitations of the traditional model used especially by legacy news outlets, is that worthy investigative stories are typically seen by only a small fraction of the public because these stories get published in just one outlet and typically in just one language. Part of what The Outlaw Ocean Project seeks to do is not just produce polished narrative investigative journalism but also amplify that journalism by converting it into other other mediums to reach new audiences.


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