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Katherine Schneider Journalism Awards Archive

2013 NCDJ Awards Archive
The following entries for the 2013 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability all earned points from judges for the quality of reporting on disability issues.


Broken Shield
California Watch, February 2012
Ryan Gabrielson
Read online.

Overview: The result of an 18-month investigation by Gabrielson for California Watch and its parent organization The Center for Investigative Reporting, “Broken Shield” exposes the routine failures of police to protect the developmentally disabled at California care institutions. The multipart series details how the Office of Protective Services, a police force charged with protecting the state’s most vulnerable citizens, botched investigations into claims of rape, torture and beatings of patients by staff members at development centers. Carrie Ching and Marina Luz produced an animated video, “In Jennifer’s Room,” to accompany the report, which also won the 2012 George Polk Award and the 2012 IRE Award and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Autism Advantage
The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 29, 2012
Gareth Cook
Read online.

Overview: Pulitzer Prize winner and columnist Gareth Cook chronicles the story of the innovative Danish company Specialisterne, which employs people with autism to gain a competitive advantage in the business world. Founded by Thorkil Sonne, the father of a son with autism, Specialisterne (Danish for “Specialists) employs high-functioning autistic adults who are hired out as consultants. Sonne established the company in the belief that workers with autism could be the best person for certain roles.

Playing by Ear
Narratively, June 11, 2013
Daphnée Denis and Hoda Emam
Read online.

Overview: An abridged excerpt from the feature documentary “Shot in the Dark,” “Playing by Ear” profiles one young man’s dedication to the Paralympic sport goalball for the visually impaired. Filmmakers Denis and Emam follow one of New York State’s top goalball players Ibrahim Shahadat, who has a rare degenerative eye disease.

Second Chapter: A Portrait of Barry Corbet
Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, July/Aug. 2013
Broughton Coburn
Read online.

Overview: One-time Everest climber and Dartmouth alumnus Barry Corbet was paralyzed from the waist down in a helicopter crash in 1968. “Second Chapter” profiles how the thrill seeker transitioned to life in a wheelchair and became a high-profile advocate for the disabled.


Presented in alphabetical order by title of entry

Access Denied
Campus Technology, Nov. 2012 digital edition
David Raths
Read online.

Overview: While making university websites and course content accessible to students and employees with disabilities may be the law, many institutions are far from compliance. Campus Technology looks at three key elements of a more proactive approach to accessibility on campus. These include building accessibility into the IT procurement process, training faculty to make online courses and content more accessible and sharing best practices across the higher education system.

Boarding Homes Series
San Antonio Express-News, Aug.-Dec., 2012
Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje
Read online.

Overview: Hundreds of  boarding homes provide shelter and care to mentally disabled people in San Antonio with little to no regulatory oversight. In this series of articles, social services reporter Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje enumerates the haunting experiences of boarding home residents and their families, portraying a system that provides little help to those in financial and medical need.

Disability and Discrimination at the Doctor’s Office
The New York Times, May 23, 2013
Pauline Chen, MD
Read online.

Overview: Many doctors’ offices are ill prepared to offer even routine care to patients with disabilities. Through personal experience and an overview of a recent medical study, Dr. Pauline Chen lays bare a culture of discrimination against disabled patients by exposing offices unable to accommodate special equipment or outright refusing to book appointments.

Follow my steps
Wilson Quarterly, Jan. 22, 2012
Andrew Hida
Read online.

OverviewAndrew Cunningham is a typical 13 year-old. He complains about studying and spends hours playing on Xbox Live with friends. The only difference is he was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and gets around with the use of  a powered wheelchair. Andrew finds a brother and guide in 21-year-old Tony Reuter, born with brittle bone disease and facing a milestone of his own. Andrew Hida first began reporting the story for a class project and eventually turned it into a master’s thesis and an International Motion Art Award-winning documentary.

For Wounded Vet, Love Pierces the Fog of War
The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2012
Michael M. Phillips
Read online.

Overview: Marine Corps veteran Ian Welch was wounded in a roadside attack during his first tour in Iraq in 2003 but continued to serve two more tours before military doctors determined his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury qualified him as disabled. Today, Welch lives in Texas with his girlfriend, Katie Brickman, who earns a small stipend as his primary caregiver under a recent federal program for badly disabled veterans.

Matadi: Un reconfort spirituel pour les sourds-muets, Sept. 20, 2012
Alphonse Nekwa
Read online.

Overview: Forty formerly marginalized deaf parishioners are finding spiritual guidance and comfort in a unique church in Matadi, a coastal capital town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The pastor of Yhwh Sabaoth uses the director of the only school for the deaf in the Bas-Congo province to translate his sermons into sign language. Article in French; read in Google Chrome for English translation.

Still, God Helps You
Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2013
Melissa Pritchard
Read online.

OverviewSnatched from a marketplace in Sudan and sold into slavery at the age of 6, William Mawwin became one of millions of people in the world to endure some form of involuntary servitude. Arizona State University English Professor Melissa Pritchard’s essay details Mawwin’s journey from a lost boy of a war-torn Sudan to a refugee in Egypt, where he lost his right hand and most of the fingers on his left in a work accident, and finally to a college student in America.

Technology For Life: How Students With Disabilities Are Attending College At Record Rates
KUNC, May 2, 2013
Jackie Fortier
Read online.

Overview: More students with disabilities are pursuing higher education than ever before. New accessible technology along with disability assistance is helping students such as Esha Mehta and Bill Casson earn graduate degrees at institutions like the University of Colorado. But still some gender and minority gaps remain, with more women attendingcollege and more white students attending both undergraduate and graduate school than minority students.

Zach’s Journey
The Dallas Morning News, July-Dec. 2012
Mark Ramirez
Read online.

OverviewRapidly and surely, Zach Thibodeaux is going blind — the result of a degenerative disease called cone-rod dystrophy that destroys the cells of the retina. Mark Ramirez followed Zach for two years, through the third and fourth grades as the Dallas boy learned what it would mean to be blind, find new hobbies and spread awareness of his incurable disease.