2018 application period now closed for disability reporting contest

This award is the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage.

The Ruderman Foundation Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability recognize the best reporting on disability issues and people with disabilities that is being done in the U.S. and abroad.

More than $20,000 in cash awards will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners in large media and small media categories.

There is no entry fee for the competition, which is open to digital, broadcast and print media outlets.

Contest entries are due by midnight on Aug. 6, 2018. Entries must have been published or aired between July 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018. Entries are accepted from outside the U.S., although the work submitted must be in English. Awards are given to individuals or teams.

The 2018 winners will be recognized at a fall 2018 ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring a keynote speaker on disability coverage as well as a disability reporting workshop for journalists.

To enter, visit 2018 Disability Contest.

The Ruderman contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University with support from the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society, and from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who lives with a disability.

Awards will be given in a large media category and in a small media category, as described below.

Large Media Market Category

  • Print media: Newspapers with 200,000 circulation or more (largest single day, including digital replica), wire services, magazines and weeklies with a national audience
  • Broadcast media: Network, cable or syndicated television programs with a national audience, radio outlets or radio syndicators with a national or international reach
  • Digital media: Web-only media outlets with regional, multi-state or national audiences.

Small Media Market Category

  • Print media – newspapers of under 200,000 circulation  
  • Broadcast: Local network affiliates or independent television stations serving primarily local markets
  • Digital media: Web-only media outlets that serve primarily local or a single state markets

Winners in the large media market category will receive prizes of $10,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Winners in the small media market category will receive a Katherine Schneider Medal as well as cash awards of $5,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third place.

Entries are judged by professional journalists and disability experts. Past judges have included “PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff; Tony Coelho, a former six-term U.S. congressman from California and the primary sponsor of the Americans With Disabilities Act; and former Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Leon Dash.

Judges are looking for work that:

  • Explores and illuminates key legal or judicial issues regarding the treatment of people with disabilities;
  • Explores and illuminates government policies and practices regarding disabilities;
  • Explores and illuminates practices of private companies and organizations regarding disabilities;
  • Goes beyond the ordinary in conveying the challenges experienced by people living with disabilities and strategies for meeting these challenges;
  • Offers balanced accounts of key points of controversy in the field and provide useful information to the general public;
  • Special consideration is 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.

The contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. The NCDJ provides resources and materials for journalists who cover disability and has run a national disability journalism awards program in Schneider’s name since 2013.

Past winners have included journalists from The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Center for Investigative Reporting, WAMU public radio in Washington, D.C, ProPublica and the Business World of India. An archive of winning entries can be found at http://ncdj.org/contest/.

For questions, contact Nicole Koester at nicole.koester@asu.edu.