New York Times national columnist Dan Barry joined the National Center on Disability and Journalism for its first webinar on disability reporting on May 6, 2014. Barry chronicled his experience reporting “The ‘Boys’ in the Bunkhouse,” a story about 32 men with intellectual disabilities who lived for 35 years in squalid conditions in an old Iowa schoolhouse while working at a nearby turkey plant for sub- minimum wage. Barry said it was very important to him to frame as much of the story as possible through “the eyes and words of the men” rather than writing from a remove.
Webinar attendees had the chance to ask Barry about best practices and specific challenges he faced when reporting on people with disabilities. Barry said he took time to get to know the men and consulted with at least half a dozen experts on correct terminology. He said shedding the all too familiar “paternalistic overlay” when talking about people with disabilities “starts with including everyone in the conversation.”
To view a recording of the webinar and access the live captions, visit https://connect.asu.edu/p7e7gtdsqxg/.