The 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability is the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to recognizing excellence in the coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues.
The winner of the 2017 contest will be announced in October. Entries for the 2017-2018 contest year will be accepted beginning in May 2018.
Awards are given to individuals or teams, with prizes of $5,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third place. Judges also may award honorable mentions.
The Schneider award is administered each year by the NCDJ, which is part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It is supported by a gift from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who also supports the Schneider Family Book Award, which honors the best children’s book each year that captures the disability experience for children and adolescents. That award is administered by the American Library Association.
In 2016, the top NCDJ Schneider award went to Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres for “A Matter of Dignity,” an investigation into the segregation and neglect of hundreds of Minnesotans who are part of a system of state-subsidized sheltered workshops for people with disabilities. Second place went to WAMU 88.5, the NPR station in Washington, D.C., and third place was awarded to ProPublica. Judges also gave an honorable mention to Business World in New Delhi, the first international news outlet to be honored in the contest.
Entries are judged by professional journalists and disability experts based on the following criteria:
- Explore and illuminate key legal or judicial issues regarding the treatment of people with disabilities;
- Explore and illuminate government policies and practices regarding disabilities;
- Explore and illuminate practices of private companies and organizations regarding disabilities;
- Go beyond the ordinary in conveying the challenges experienced by people living with disabilities and strategies for meeting these challenges;
- Offer balanced accounts of key points of controversy in the field and provide useful information to the general public;
- Special consideration will be given to entries that are accessible to those with disabilities. For example, broadcast pieces that are available in transcript form and text stories that are accessible to screen readers. All entries will be published on the NCDJ website in accessible formats.
Schneider, who has been blind since birth, hopes the award will help journalists improve their coverage of disability issues, moving beyond “inspirational” stories that don’t accurately represent the lives of people with disabilities. “That kind of stuff is remarkable, but that’s not life as most of us live it,” she said.
The NCDJ, which has been housed at the Cronkite School since 2008, offers resources and materials for journalists covering disability issues and topics. For more information, visit our About page.