NCDJ Advisory Board
The following professionals are members of the board of advisers for the National Center on Disability and Journalism. The board helps chart the center’s course and serves as a source of advice and support.
Connolly is a longtime advocate for persons with disabilities. A former business editor with Knight Ridder, Connolly was a business and military affairs reporter at two Gannett newspapers and for The Associated Press. She won state news association awards for political coverage at the Maryland statehouse and began her career in the film lecture department at the National Geographic Society.
She teaches news reporting to print majors at the Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Connolly is currently developing an online news site about health care in central Florida. She is a member and fundraiser for National Alliance on Mental Illness and for Special Olympics.
Connolly’s interest in the special needs community was sparked by volunteer work she did while in college at a respite clinic for family members of children with disabilities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She was a Poynter Institute for Media Studies fellow in media management and entrepreneurship as a graduate student. She is currently enrolled as a master’s student in exceptional education at the University of Central Florida, with a focus on learning disabilities and English for speakers of other languages.
Richard J. Dalton, Jr.
Richard J. Dalton, Jr. was a Wall Street computer programmer before obtaining his master’s degree in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After spending two years at The Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, he returned to his hometown of Long Island, N.Y., to work for Newsday, where he covered technology, wrote a consumer column and worked as an investigative reporter.
Dalton also has taught advanced journalism and computer-assisted reporting at The State University of New York at Stony Brook and has conducted seminars at conferences on computer-assisted reporting.
He became interested in the topic of disabilities as an undergraduate when a student who used a wheelchair described difficulties getting around campus. Dalton, as a student counselor, launched Disabilities Awareness Day, in which able-bodied students, professors and administrators used wheelchairs for a day to experience firsthand the difficulties of wheelchair use on campus.
Dalton also has faced a disability himself – dysthymia, a chronic mild depression. The experience has cemented his desire to become an advocate for people with disabilities.
He co-created a radio show on mental illness and serves as a reporter and co-anchor. After a series of special editions, the show will get a regular time slot early next year. Beautiful Minds, www.beautifulmindsradio.org, airs on Coop Radio, 102.7 FM, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and also is available at www.coopradio.org.
Dalton, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, is writing freelance articles and working on a non-fiction book on mental illness.
Leon Dash was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on March 16, 1944, and grew up in New York City’s Harlem and The Bronx. He is currently a Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism and the Director of the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A former reporter for The Washington Post for 33 years, he is author of Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America, which grew out of the eight-part Washington Post series for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Dash’s younger daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was a student in the University of Illinois Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES) program and graduated with Bachelor of Science in Theatre Studies in May 2005.
Recently, Dash completed the research for a documentary film on the University of Illinois’s DRES program, the disability rights movement and what is left to be done in the United States for persons with disabilities, and is currently seeking funding for production of the film.
Doig is the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU in 1996, he worked for 20 years as an investigative reporter and editor at The Miami Herald, where he became a specialist in computer-assisted reporting. Projects on which he worked at the Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and other major awards.
Doig’s interest in the topic of disabilities in journalism dates back to his experience working with the late John Wolin, a Herald editor who had a stellar career there despite numerous surgeries necessitated by his particularly difficult condition of achondroplasia dwarfism.
Doig holds a degree in political science from Dartmouth College and graduated from, and later taught at, the Defense Information School. He spent a year as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
He actively consults with print and broadcast news media outlets around the world on computer-assisted reporting problems and is an active member of IRE, serving on the 5,000-member organization’s board of directors for four years. Recently, he worked with IRE to organize a new journalism contest, called the Phil Meyer Award, to recognize the best journalism using social science techniques. In addition, he has been a speaker at many national meetings of journalism and other organizations. He also has traveled to Canada, England, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil and Indonesia to do training in precision journalism techniques. His research interests include newsroom diversity, demographics, public opinion polling and finding techniques used by other professions that can be developed into tools for journalists.
Haller is Professor of Journalism/New Media at Towson University in Maryland. She is the former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal, Disability Studies Quarterly (2003-2006), and currently maintains a blog on disability issues in the news, Media dis&dat, as well as a Web site on media and disability research.
Haller has been researching media images of disability since 1991 when she did a master’s thesis at the University of Maryland, College Park, on the coverage of deaf persons in The Washington Post and New York Times. Her Ph.D. dissertation at Temple University in Philadelphia investigated elite news media coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her media and disability research has been published in Disability Studies Quarterly, Disability & Society, Journalism Studies, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Research in Social Science and Disability, Journal of Comic Art, Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, Mass Comm Review and Journalism History. She is the co-author of the textbook “An Introduction to News Reporting: A Beginning Journalist’s Guide” (Allyn & Bacon, 2005).
Haller is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Baylor University. She worked as a print journalist for newspapers in Texas, New Mexico, Illinois and Maryland before becoming a college professor. She also serves on the advisory boards of DREDF’s Disability & Media Alliance Project and Disability Rights Promotion International’s Media Monitoring Project.
LaFleur is director of computer-assisted reporting for ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization that produces journalism in the public interest. She is based in New York City.
Before joining ProPublica, LaFluer was the computer-assisted reporting editor for The Dallas Morning News, where she worked on the investigative team and directed newsroom stories based on data analysis. She has held similar positions at the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
LaFleur held a Media Law Fellowship with The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C. She has taught journalism at the University of Missouri and American University, and she was the first national training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors, an educational organization based at the University of Missouri.
She is co-author of a book on computer-assisted reporting and has won awards for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues. She is on the board of directors for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
Tim McGuire is the Frank Russell Chair for the business of journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He teaches courses on ethics and on the business and future of journalism. He is a frequent commentator on the challenges facing news media, ethics and problem-solving in media.
Prior to coming to the Cronkite School, McGuire was the James Batten Visiting Professor of Journalism and Public Policy at Davidson College in North Carolina and spent a semester at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., as the first Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor.
He spent most of his career at the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, where he was editor and senior vice president. He joined the company in 1979 and retired in 2002. He was managing editor of the newspaper when it won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990.
McGuire has been a Pulitzer jurist six times and is a past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
From 2002 until February 2006, McGuire wrote a weekly syndicated column for United Media called “More Than Work.” The column was purchased by 34 newspapers and covered ethics, spirituality and values in work. During that time he also spoke on disability and parenting issues.
McGuire was born with a congenital birth defect called Arthrogriposis Multicongenita. He had 13 surgeries before he was 16. He was always relatively mobile and resented the implication that he was disabled or handicapped in any way. That started to change when he was in his 40s. After a recent failed surgery forced him to use assistive mobile devices, McGuire now calls himself a “born-again” on disability issues. McGuire and his wife of 36 years, Jean, are the parents of three children including a 32-year-old Down syndrome son.
Robitaille, of Greenwich, Conn., is the founder and editor-in-chief of Abledbody.com, a consumer Web site that covers disability news and assistive technology. She was the assistive technology columnist for BusinessWeek.com in New York from 2001-2005, giving rise to her interest in technology that helps people with disabilities surmount barriers in the workplace and their living spaces.
She also worked at The Wall Street Journal Online and continues to write for print and Web publications, including The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek.com, Disaboom and Media Post.
She is the author of the book “The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology & Devices.”
Robitaille has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.