UBC Graduate School of Journalism International Reporting Program’s multimedia documentary CUT has been named a Webby Honoree in the “Green” category, which recognizes the best of environmental journalism. CUT is the culmination of a year of research, reporting and production on the topic of illegal logging. Students traveled to the Russian Far East, Cameroon and Indonesia, documenting the problems with illegal logging, and exploring efforts to slow down forest destruction. Excerpts of the multimedia documentary were featured in The New York Times.
This marks the second time the School’s IRP has been recognized by the Webby Awards, which has been hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times. This year’s judges include Arianna Huffington, Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mozilla CEO and Chair Mitchell Baker, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, mobile-phone inventor Martin Cooper, and the creator of the GIF Steve Wilhite.
“Honorees like CUT are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 12,000 entries we received this year.”
CUT was previously honoured with a 2013 Canadian Online Publishing Award, Canada’s top prizes for online journalism – receiving the Gold Award for the best video or multimedia feature. This multimedia documentary was designed by UBC Journalism students, in collaboration with students from the Centre for Digital Media.
In 2011, the IRP’s multimedia project “Cheap Shrimp, Hidden Costs” was a nominated for a Webby Award, as well as for a COPA and an Online News Association Award. In 2013, the IRP’s web documentary “The Pain Project” received two COPAs – the Gold Award for best video or multimedia feature and the Silver Award for best overall online-only publication.
“Having student projects consistently recognized by the top multimedia awards is confirmation that we’re preparing our students for the emerging digital media landscape,” said Peter Klein, Director of the Graduate School of Journalism and Founder of the International Reporting Program.
UBC Journalism students receive intensive integrated journalism training during their first year, and produce stories for the award-winning news site The Thunderbird. All students also complete a major work of multimedia journalism in their second year, which is a requirement for graduation.
“It’s vital that journalists today have a first-hand understanding of the digital landscape, and how content is communicated on each platform,” said Alexandra Gibb, one of the ten students who worked on the CUT project. “That knowledge, combined with the kind of boots-on-the-ground reporting that we did in the International Reporting Program, allowed us to make the story of global illegal logging come to life in a way that anyone can connect with — personally and digitally.”