Projects

Rice farmers pay the price for conservation in the Mekong Basin

Shaurya Kshatri

Latest project

Rice farmers pay the price for conservation in the Mekong Basin

2023
Mongabay

This series follows rice farmers from Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake downstream to the Delta in Vietnam where the Mekong River joins the South China Sea. Rice farming is a major industry and food source, but is under threat from a changing climate. As farmers face pressure to change how they farm in an effort to conserve the waterways, the lives and livelihoods of the small-scale farmers who fill the world’s rice bowl are being upended.

    Reported from
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
Cambodia

Small farmers in limbo as Cambodia wavers on Tonle Sap conservation rules

Rice farmers in the flood plains of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake were evicted from their land after a government conservation crackdown in 2021. But ahead of the upcoming national election, officials are backpedaling, returning land to some farmers while leaving others uncertain of their fate.

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A longtail boat cuts across the flooded forest on Tonle Sap Lake.

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia — Dec 16, 2022The floodwaters surrounding the lake have begun to recede, revealing sediment-rich, fertile land. Much of the land surrounding the lake is designated as conservation areas where farming is banned. Thomas Cristofoletti

A man in a green shirt facing forward.

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia — Dec 10, 2022Vorn Keo once had a rice farm in the conservation area where the government began enforcing a farming ban in 2021. He says he inherited the land from his mother who had been farming in the area since 1952. Shaurya Kshatri

Rice fields with a small tree in the foreground.

Battambang, Cambodia — Dec 12, 2022Rice farmers in Cambodia are struggling with a multitude of crises, including unpredictable crop prices, skyrocketing costs of fertilizers, and extreme weather. Hanna Hett

A woman weaving a basket.

Kork Thlork, Cambodia — Dec 10, 2022Since losing her rice farm in the conservation area in 2021, Lun Yi works as a day laborer and weaves baskets out of bamboo strips, which she sells for about $0.62 USD. Shaurya Kshatri

Vietnam

Growing rice in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where fresh water is no longer a sure thing

Farmers in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta face worsening impacts of a changing climate making it tougher to farm what is one of the country’s biggest exports — rice. In response, the Vietnamese government is pushing for more sustainable farming methods.

Read storyVideo 1
A farmer in a red shirt working a rice farm.

TRA VINH, VIETNAM — DECEMBER 10, 2022A rice farm in Tra Vinh, Vietnam is almost ready for harvest. Flooded up to the ankle, these farms need a significant amount of water to keep the rice crops submerged throughout the growing period. JJ Mazzucotelli

A man balancing on the edge of a canal.

PHU CAN COOPERATIVE, VIETNAM — APRIL 17, 2023Thach Ren is one of many rice farmers in Vietnam who gets his water from a complex canal system that pumps water from the Mekong River across the country. These canals allow for multiple harvests per year, but farmers have limited control over the water flow. Giang Pham

A man in a blue shirt facing forward.

PHU CAN COOPERATIVE, VIETNAM — APRIL 17, 2023Nam Dung has been farming rice for nearly three decades. He’s been using the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) farming method for more than ten years. He participated in a pilot program to test out a new technology using “smart” pumps. He still uses that technique today. Giang Pham

A man checks his phone.

PHU CAN COOPERATIVE, VIETNAM — APRIL 17, 2023In 2017 Tra Vinh University installed “smart” pumps for AWD farmers like Thach Ren so they could use their smartphones to check the water level in their rice fields without being there in person. Giang Pham

Past projects

Yejin Jo

Growing older

Growing older

2022
The Globe and Mail

By 2050, it’s projected that over two billion people will be 60+ years old. Growing Older is an investigation into the challenges of an aging world — and the need to work across generations to find solutions.

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    Reported from
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • Sweden
    Awards
  1. AHCJ (Student)

Amanda Follett Hosgood

‘Disaster land grabs’ worldwide and in British Columbia

‘Disaster land grabs’ worldwide and in British Columbia

2021
The Tyee

Amidst a crushing pandemic, a pipeline pushed through unceded territory. Experts say this fits a global pattern of power plays.

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    Reported from
  • Canada

Fabian Fröhlich

Beyond school

Beyond school

2020
The World from PRX

Through photo essays, Beyond School reveals how new curriculums and alternative teaching methods are transforming schools for students around the world — from language in Nepal, religion in Pakistan, inclusion in Kenya and culture in Norway.

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    Reported from
  • Norway
  • Nepal
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • USA
The fish you (don’t know you) eat

The fish you (don’t know you) eat

2019
NBC News

Twenty-five percent of fish caught in the ocean don’t land on our plates. They’re churned into fishmeal, which is used to feed farmed fish. But what are the true costs of this process? We travelled to China, Peru and West Africa—key locations in the global fishmeal industry—to find out.

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    Reported from
  • China
  • Peru
  • The Gambia
  • Senegal
    Awards
  1. Digital Publishing (Digital Editorial)
  2. Emerge Media (Multimedia Production)
  3. CAJ (Student Award nomination)
  4. Online Journalism (Pro-Am Student / nomination)
  5. One World (Student / special mention)
Stuck

Stuck

2018
Huffpost

Stuck. follows the journeys of migrants throughout Turkey’s two-tiered immigration process, and shows the labyrinthine system than non-Syrians face as they try to start new lives in Europe.

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    Reported from
  • Turkey
    Awards
  1. Canadian Online Publishing (Best Article or Series)
  2. EPPY (Best College/University News Feature)
Surviving the city

Surviving the city

2017
The Guardian
Toronto Star
BBC News

By 2050, two thirds of the people in the world will be living in cities. This dramatic influx is putting pressure on urban life, and raising critical questions for the people living through these challenges. We travelled to China, Colombia, and India to document how cities are handling education, crime, clean water, safe food and rapidly expanding industries.

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    Reported from
  • China
  • Colombia
  • India
    Awards
  1. Edward R. Murrow (Regional, Excellence in Writing)
  2. RTDNA Canada Network (Digital Media)
  3. Canadian Online Publishing (Best Article/Series / silver)
  4. One World Media (nominated)
  5. Online Journalism (Pro-Am Student Award / nominated)
Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

2016
Vice News

In the past two decades, Chile has emerged as one of Latin America’s most prosperous nations. But beneath the surface of this success story, people are struggling to have their voices heard amid growing social tensions. Fellows travelled to Chile to investigate why some of the country’s most vulnerable people—migrants and people who are HIV positive—remain hidden in plain sight.

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    Reported from
  • Chile
    Awards
  1. HR/CAJ (Human Rights Reporting / nominated)
  2. Digital Publishing (Digital Initiative / nominated)
Out of the shadows

Out of the shadows

2015
Al Jazeera
The New York Times

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide, but it remains one of the world’s most neglected diseases. We went to Togo, Benin, Jordan, and India to look at how some countries are addressing this major health challenge and coming up with creative solutions to bring mental illness out of the shadows.

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    Reported from
  • Togo
  • Benin
  • Jordan
  • India
    Awards
  1. Edward R. Murrow (Regional, Video News Series)
  2. Online Journalism (Pro-Am)
  3. Digital Publishing (Best Editorial Package)
  4. Webby Honoree (Green Category)
  5. One World Media (Short Film / nominated)
  6. Canadian Association of Journalists (nominated)
China’s generation green

China’s generation green

2014
Toronto Star

How can China manage its dangerous water, contaminated soil, mountains of waste, and disappearing biodiversity? This series, reported by fellows from UBC and Shantou University in China, is about the generation who are openly and actively fighting to change the trajectory of the country to avoid disaster.

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    Reported from
  • China
    Awards
  1. Edward R. Murrow (National, Best Online Video News Series)
  2. Edward R. Murrow Award (Regional, Small Online News Video Series)
  3. Canadian Online Publishing (Interactive Story)
  4. Canadian Association of Journalists (Online Media))
  5. Sigma Delta Chi (Non-Deadline Reporting)
Cut: Investigating global logging

Cut: Investigating global logging

2013
The New York Times

Where do the wood and paper products in our home come from? Interpol estimates that up to 30% of our wood is illegally cut by poachers, organized criminals, and corrupt governments and businesses. We traveled to Indonesia, Russia and Cameroon, to investigate the criminal, environmental and social consequences of the illegal timber trade.

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    Reported from
  • Indonesia
  • Russia
  • Cameroon
    Awards
  1. Canadian Online Publishing (Best Video Feature)
  2. Webby Honoree (Green Category)
  3. Edward R. Murrow (Regional, Small Online News)
Beneath the boom

Beneath the boom

2012
The New York Times

In Brazil, economic and energy interests are clashing with environmental concerns; tensions are rising between indigenous people and ranchers, leading to violence and death. Fellows met with Guarani villagers and regional farmers in southwest Brazil to document murder, forced removals and land disputes that went unheard both within Brazil and around the world.

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    Reported from
  • Brazil
The pain project

The pain project

2011
Global
CBS News
Al Jazeera

Morphine is considered the gold standard for medical pain treatment, as it is simple and cheap to make and distribute. But around the world, many can’t access any, and are left to suffer. We investigated why this is, and discovered that bureaucratic hurdles and the global war on drugs are largely to blame.

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    Reported from
  • Ukraine
  • Uganda
  • India
    Awards
  1. Canadian Online Publishing (Video or Multimedia)
  2. Canadian Online Publishing (Online Publication / Silver)
  3. Excellence in Healthcare Journalism (Silver)
Cheap shrimp, hidden costs

Cheap shrimp, hidden costs

2010
The Globe and Mail

Although once considered a delicacy, today shrimp is one of North America’s favourite cheap seafoods. But plunging shrimps prices come with hidden costs. We investigated the consequences to Thailand’s labourers, forests, and marine ecosystems.

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    Reported from
  • Thailand
    Awards
  1. Online Journalism (Online Video / nominated)
Ghana: digital dumping ground

Ghana: digital dumping ground

2009
The PBS Series FRONTLINE

The world is trashing old computers and phones at alarming rates, sending hundreds of millions of pounds of dangerous electronic waste to lower-income countries. We travelled to Ghana to learn about the consequences of our disposable culture, breaking a major story about data fraud in the process.

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    Reported from
  • Ghana
    Awards
  1. Emmy (Investigative Journalism)
  2. Sigma Delta Chi (Best Documentary)
  3. Livingston Award for Young Journalists (nominated)