CUT, a multimedia documentary about illegal logging, has won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, the highest honour from the Radio, Television and Digital News Association. The is the most recent in a long list of awards for this project, which was produced by UBC Graduate School of Journalism International Reporting Program, in collaboration with the Centre for Digital Media.

CUT is the culmination of a year of research and reporting tracing the sources of lumber and paper from forests around the world. Students traveled to the Russian Far East, Cameroon and Indonesia, documenting the problems with illegal logging, and exploring efforts to slow down deforestation. Excerpts of the multimedia documentary were featured in the New York Times.

Students worked with scholars from the Liu Institute and UBC Forestry to understand the economics, science and politics behind illegal logging, and also collaborated with students and professors from International University in Moscow.

The Regional Murrow Award is in the category of Small Online News Organization: Overall Excellence. CUT was also recently a Webby Honoree in the “Green” category, which recognizes the best of environmental journalism, and it received the Gold Award for the best video or multimedia feature in 2013 Canadian Online Publishing Award, Canada’s top prizes for online journalism.

“As a longtime producer at CBS News, where the ghost of Murrow still looms large, this is a particularly meaningful recognition,” said Peter Klein, Director of the Graduate School of Journalism and Founder of the International Reporting Program. Klein co-taught the course with Dave Rummel, a veteran journalist who joined the faculty three years ago after serving as senior producer of the video and documentary unit of The New York Times.

“We hope CUT will be the first step of an ambitious environmental reporting initiative we want to build at UBC,” said Prof. Rummel. Klein and Rummel are fundraising to create the Global Reporting Centre, an independent international reporting organization that will be based out of UBC and will produce major works of journalism on under-covered global issues.

Funding for CUT was provided by Mindset Social Innovation Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.