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“The Outlaw Ocean Music Project”

Excellence in Innovation, honoring Roy W. Howard

The Outlaw Ocean Project, 2022

Author(s): Ian Urbina | The Outlaw Ocean Project


“The Outlaw Ocean Music Project” is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between two distinct types of storytellers – journalists and musicians. This trailblazing experiment aimed to solve one of the daunting puzzles for the future of journalism, how to reach and engage young people.

Nonprofit news organization, The Outlaw Ocean Project, built an audio library of field recordings from more than five years at sea. Recording artists were recruited in more than 40 countries to take the recordings and create music evoking the experience at sea, including the often brutal business that takes place. The resulting multi-genre album called people to action to protect and preserve our oceans and invited listeners to read the underlying journalism that inspired the album.

The innovative approach taken in “The Outlaw Ocean Music Project” resulted in 90 million people – the majority of them young people – taking the leap from listening to the album to reading the journalism that provoked it. The project met this audience where it was to inspire action and participation. The Outlaw Ocean Project’s approach was entrepreneurially innovative as well, demonstrating a novel tactic for how to finance nonprofit journalism.

Honoring Roy W. Howard
Black and white photo of a man holding a pipe in his left hand and a newspaper in his right hand

In 1921, Roy W. Howard became chairman of the board and business director of Scripps. One of the most influential newsmen of his day, Roy served as president of the company until he retired in 1952, when he was named chairman of the company’s executive committee.