The Outlaw Ocean Project Transforms Investigative Journalism into a New Film Series

The Outlaw Ocean Project is a nonprofit organization founded by award-winning journalist Ian Urbina that takes investigative journalism to the high seas to bring us stories that are scarcely talked about when we hear about ocean health. Most of The Outlaw Ocean Project’s stories are reported partially at sea, covering human rights, the environment, and labor concerns happening at the two-thirds of the Earth covered by water.

The Outlaw Ocean Project released a new, 10-part film series entitled Dispatches from The Outlaw Ocean: The Last Untamed Frontier. The title is fitting, given that the high seas are a lawless frontier where crimes such as murder, slavery, and environmental destruction are often met with impunity and overlooked by the media. But the ocean is also a place of discovery and reinvention, offering freedom from the constraints of society. The series chronicles traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, shackled slaves, and vigilante conservationists.

The organization has used several storytelling mediums, including music, art, writing, podcasts, and film. The Outlaw Ocean Podcast, launched in 2022, transforms those stories into an immersive listening experience in a seven-part series comprising stories from over eight years of reporting on all seven oceans and in more than three dozen countries. In that same year, The Outlaw Ocean Project and The Guardian won the News Emmys Award for Outstanding Crime and Justice Coverage in this documentary.

Our grant program, funded by the Schmidt Family Foundation, supports The Outlaw Ocean Project’s critical storytelling #fortheocean. The way people consume stories is unique to each individual, and The Outlaw Ocean Project is evolving to deliver high-impact stories that captivate audiences in many different ways.

Watch Dispatches from The Outlaw Ocean