media

Schneider Family Book Awards honor authors of kids books with disability themes

Fiction is an engaging way to introduce children to the topic of disability. The annual Schneider Family Book Awards are chosen by the American Library Association and honor exceptional books about disabilities targeted at kids and teens. This year’s award-winning books  include characters who are deaf, have autism and use sign language. Check out the full list by clicking here to read Disability Scoop’s report.

Ruderman Family Foundation Launches Journalism Awards for Excellence in Disability Reporting

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today a major new journalism awards program to recognize the best disability reporting produced each year by media organizations around the world.

The new Ruderman Family Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability will recognize work done by large-market digital, broadcast and print media outlets, with prizes of $10,000, $2,500 and $1,000 for first-, second- and third-place winners, respectively. The first Ruderman Family awards will be presented in fall 2018 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring a keynote address on disability journalism as well as a workshop for journalists on how to improve disability coverage.

The program will be administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, which has directed a smaller disability awards program since 2013.

At the same time, the NCDJ has created an honor recognizing disability journalism by small media outlets. That contest continues the work of Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist, who launched the first NCDJ awards program. The Katherine Schneider Medal will honor local journalists in small markets who produce outstanding disability reporting.

The Ruderman Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society.

Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing society.

“All too often people with disabilities are conveyed as charity cases or objects of pity,” Ruderman said. “We hope that this award will change the landscape of journalism so that reporters will portray people with disabilities as active and contributing members of society. This coverage will reach millions of Americans, and the public perception of disability will shift, leading to more meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities throughout all sectors of society.”

The NCDJ has been part of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication since 2008. The organization provides support and guidance for journalists as they cover people with disabilities, including a popular style guide that offers advice on the use of disability-related words and terms.

Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, who directs the NCDJ, said people with disabilities make up at least 19 percent of the U.S. population – 54.4 million people, yet important disability issues still don’t get the attention they deserve, and, too often, the coverage that does exist portrays people with disabilities in stereotypical or inaccurate ways.

“The support from the Ruderman Family Foundation and Katherine Schneider is an important step in helping journalists and the general public better understand people with disabilities and disability issues,” she said.

Entries for the Ruderman Family Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability and Katherine Schneider Medal will be accepted beginning in May 2018 at http://ncdj.org.

About the Ruderman Family Foundation

The Ruderman Family Foundation is an internationally recognized organization, which advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our society. The Foundation supports effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy in advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the United States and the world.

The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community and imposes these values within its leadership and funding.

For more information, please visit www.rudermanfoundation.org.

About the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Cronkite School at Arizona State University is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier professional journalism programs. The School’s 1,800 students regularly lead the country in national journalism competitions. They are guided by faculty comprised of award-winning professional journalists and world-class media scholars. Cronkite’s full-immersion professional programs give students opportunities to practice what they’ve learned in a real-world setting under the guidance of professionals.

Kenny Fries’s list of 8 great novels & memoirs about disability

Author and self-described disabled writer Kenny Fries compiled a list of 8 recent novels and memoirs that “Move disability from the margins to the center.” Fries is a talented writer and his descriptions of each book are engaging and sincere. He also introduces his counterpart to the Bechdel Test, called the “Fries Test,” which measures disability representation in culture.

Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens take home top prize for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

The Chicago Tribune’s investigative reporters Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens took home 1st Prize in this year’s Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. On November 27th the veteran reporting team visited downtown Phoenix to tour Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, meet school staff and students, conduct several video interviews and meet other contest winners. In the evening they participated in a panel discussion, hosted by NCDJ Advisory Board member Leon Dash, for the Cronkite School’s “Must See Mondays” speaker series. During the panel Callahan and Berens described challenges of acquiring and analyzing Illinois public records that documented mistreatment of people with disabilities at state-funded group homes. Emotional photos by Chicago Tribune’s John J. Kim from Callahan and Beren’s award-winning series “Suffering in Secret” were projected on the video screen behind the panel. A full video recording of the panel discussion and ceremony is now available on Vimeo. Click HERE to watch it.

First Place winners Patricia Callahan and Michael Berens pose with awards sponsor Katherine Schneider on November 27, 2017 at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
First Place winners Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens pose with awards sponsor Katherine Schneider on November 27, 2017 at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Op-Ed by Alice Wong about importance of Net Neutrality

Acclaimed national journalist Alice Wong penned an enlightening commentary for The Center for Media Justice about the importance of Net Neutrality to disability rights communicators like herself. The controversy around Net Neutrality gained traction this week after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai proposed deregulating internet service providers (ISPs). Pai’s announcement says deregulating ISPs will “Restore Internet Freedom And Eliminate Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations” but advocates of Net Neutrality fear deregulation could empower ISPs to become gatekeepers of content by controlling the price of how information flows across the Internet.

NCDJ award ceremony Monday, Nov 27 at ASU’s Cronkite School

Supporters of disability journalism are encouraged to join ASU and NCDJ members this coming Monday, November 27th when we present the 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability to winners Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan. The ceremony will include a panel discussion with the winners hosted by media scholar Leon Dash. The ceremony and panel will also feature contest honorable mention winner Belo Cipriani who won for his series titled “Seeing in the Dark.” This is a free, public event and will feature a Q&A session at the end of the panel discussion. We hope you can make it!

EVENT DATE: Monday, November 27 at 7pm

EVENT LOCATION:  ASU’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

ABC’s “Good Doctor” features guest actor with autism

The primetime ABC drama “The Good Doctor” follows the career and personal life of a young surgeon with autism. The title character, Dr. Shaun Murphy, is played by Freddie Highmore who does not have autism. However, Monday night’s episode (Nov 13th) was unique in that a guest role featuring a character with autism was played by Coby Bird, an experienced actor with autism. This article on The Mighty by Elizabeth Cassidy describes Bird’s work and perspective on his character.

Upcoming Hollywood films about disability attract criticism for lack of authenticity

Several recent films produced by Hollywood studios and starring celebrity actors are frustrating disability advocates for their lack of diversity and authenticity. Examples include Todd Haynes’s film Wonderstruck starring Julianne Moore as a deaf woman, David Gordon Green’s Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a double-amputee, and Andy Serkis’s Breathe starring Andrew Garfield as a polio patient who becomes a quadriplegic. A recent article in USA Today explains why disability advocates are raising awareness about the lack of casting diversity and how filmmakers are responding.

Article excerpt: So what can Hollywood do to give more visibility? Lauren Appelbaum, communications director for RespectAbility, a non-profit organization working to fight stigmas and create opportunities for people with disabilities, urges studios to look to TV, where actors such as Stranger Things‘ Gaten Matarazzo (who has cleidocranial dysplasia, a rare growth disorder) and NCIS: New Orleans‘ Daryl Mitchell (who is paralyzed from the chest down) play roles that don’t hinge on them being disabled.

“Actors with disabilities could easily play roles that neither hide nor emphasize their disability,” Appelbaum says. “For example: a doctor who uses a wheelchair or a scientist with cerebral palsy. By including characters with obvious and hidden disabilities in scripts and story lines, films can create more authenticity within entertainment.”