The International Reporting Program is an initiative aimed at teaching and producing enterprise global journalism by offering students the opportunity to report on under-covered stories from around the world.
The IRP is the result of a $1 million donation from Alison Lawton and the Mindset Social Innovation Foundation. With each project, it partners with major media organizations to produce works of journalism meant for wide distribution. The goal is to grow the program into a larger centre that can take on multiple projects, partner with the top global reporters in the industry and experiment with new forms of international reporting.
The IRP’s first project, “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground,” in 2009, was an investigation into the international electronics waste trade. The resulting PBS Frontline/WORLD documentary, “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground,” won the 2010 Emmy for Best Investigative Magazine Story.
In 2009-10, the IRP investigated Thailand’s shrimp agriculture industry. Students partnered with The Globe and Mail to produce the web video project, “Cheap Shrimp, Hidden Costs,” which was nominated for the prestigious 2011 Online Journalism Award.
“The Pain Project” was produced by IRP students and faculty during the 2010-11 school year after they travelled to Ukraine, India and Uganda to uncover the lack of access to painkillers such as morphine. They discovered a hidden human rights crisis, caused in part because of the blunt effect of the global war on drugs. Their reporting was featured in documentaries produced in partnership with CBS Sunday Morning, Global 16×9, and Al Jazeera People and Power, which won second place in the 2011 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.
The IRP’s 2011-12 class produced “Beneath the Boom: The Price of Progress in Brazil,” which explores how Brazil’s economic and energy interests clash with efforts to protect the environment and preserve aboriginal land. For this project, the IRP partnered with The New York Times to produce two short documentaries, “Dying for Land” and “Damming the Amazon,” which ran on nytimes.com and were accompanied by corresponding articles in the Sunday Times.