Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

The Schneider Award is the first national journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage. It is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism, headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, under a grant from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who also supports the Schneider Family Book Award. That award is administered by the American Library Association and honors the best children’s book each year that captures the disability experience for children and adolescents.

Entries for the 2015-2016 contest year will be accepted beginning April 1, 2016. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. MST July 31, 2016. Entries must be published or aired between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. Entries will be accepted from print publications, radio or television outlets and online-only publications. Please follow these guidelines when entering:

  • For broadcast entries (radio or TV): Include a DVD or CD of your entry (limited to 10 minutes or less) or provide a URL where your entry can be viewed.
  • For print entries: Include a tear sheet or PDF of your entry or provide a URL where your entry can be read. Entries are limited to a single story or story package (a main story with sidebars of shorter length or a series of no more than four related stories).
  • For online entries: Provide a URL where your entry can be accessed. Entries are limited to a single story or story package (a main story with sidebars of shorter length or a series of no more than four related stories).
  • Describe your entry in 500 words or less outlining any (a) any obstacles in reporting, (b) lessons learned in doing this report (c) impact of your work d) any corrections or challenges to accuracy following publication.

A panel of judges made up of professional journalists and disability experts will consider how well submissions:

  • 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.

Entries may be filled out online.

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.

For the 2015 winners, visit http://ncdj.org/2015/10/propublica-wins-disability-reporting-award/.

For the 2014 winners, visit http://ncdj.org/2014/10/new-york-times-wins-disability-reporting-award/.

For the 2013 winners, visit http://ncdj.org/contest/first-winners-named-in-disability-awards-contest/.

An archive of previous winning entries is available.