The following professionals are members of the board of advisers for the National Center on Disability and Journalism. The board helps chart the center’s course and serves as a source of advice and support.
Andrew Becker is news director for KUER, the NPR-affiliated public radio station in Utah. He spent more than a decade covering border, homeland and national security issues for The Center for Investigative Reporting and Reveal in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reporting has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and Mother Jones as well as on National Public Radio and PBS/FRONTLINE, among others.
His work has spurred congressional action and been cited by both U.S. Supreme Court briefs and John Oliver on “Last Week Tonight.” He is the recipient of state and national honors that include an Emmy nomination and awards from the Online Journalism Association and Society of Professional Journalists. He received his master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley Becker lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and children, the oldest of whom has cerebral palsy.
Leon Dash was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on March 16, 1944, and grew up in New York City’s Harlem and The Bronx. He is currently a Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism in the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A former reporter for The Washington Post for 33 years, he is author of Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America, which grew out of the eight-part Washington Post series for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Dash’s younger daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was a student in the University of Illinois Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES) program and graduated with Bachelor of Science in Theatre Studies in May 2005.
Recently, Dash completed the research for a documentary film on the University of Illinois’s DRES program, the disability rights movement and what is left to be done in the United States for persons with disabilities, and is currently seeking funding for production of the film.
Doig is a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU in 1996, he worked for 20 years as an investigative reporter and editor at The Miami Herald, where he became a specialist in computer-assisted reporting. Projects on which he worked at the Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and other major awards.
Doig’s interest in the topic of disabilities in journalism dates back to his experience working with the late John Wolin, a Herald editor who had a stellar career there despite numerous surgeries necessitated by his particularly difficult condition of achondroplasia dwarfism.
Doig holds a degree in political science from Dartmouth College and graduated from, and later taught at, the Defense Information School. He spent a year as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
He actively consults with print and broadcast news media outlets around the world on computer-assisted reporting problems and is an active member of IRE, serving on the 5,000-member organization’s board of directors for four years. Recently, he worked with IRE to organize a new journalism contest, called the Phil Meyer Award, to recognize the best journalism using social science techniques. In addition, he has been a speaker at many national meetings of journalism and other organizations. He also has traveled to Canada, England, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil and Indonesia to do training in precision journalism techniques. His research interests include newsroom diversity, demographics, public opinion polling and finding techniques used by other professions that can be developed into tools for journalists.
Haller is Professor of Journalism/New Media at Towson University in Maryland. She is the former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal, Disability Studies Quarterly (2003-2006), and currently maintains a blog on disability issues in the news, Media dis&dat, as well as a Web site on media and disability research.
Haller has been researching media images of disability since 1991 when she did a master’s thesis at the University of Maryland, College Park, on the coverage of deaf persons in The Washington Post and New York Times. Her Ph.D. dissertation at Temple University in Philadelphia investigated elite news media coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her media and disability research has been published in Disability Studies Quarterly, Disability & Society, Journalism Studies, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Research in Social Science and Disability, Journal of Comic Art, Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, Mass Comm Review and Journalism History. She is the co-author of the textbook “An Introduction to News Reporting: A Beginning Journalist’s Guide” (Allyn & Bacon, 2005).
Haller is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Baylor University. She worked as a print journalist for newspapers in Texas, New Mexico, Illinois and Maryland before becoming a college professor. She also serves on the advisory boards of DREDF’s Disability & Media Alliance Project and Disability Rights Promotion International’s Media Monitoring Project.
Becky Kekula serves as the Disability Equality Index Director at Disability:IN, where she’s responsible for managing the DEI program. She currently serves as the Little People of America Employment Chair.
Previously, Kekula spent three and a half years working in the Equity & Inclusion department at Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the world’s largest entertainment union. There, she supported the implementation of a national diversity plan of action to achieve accurate representation of those groups historically excluded from the entertainment and news media.
She also worked at CBS Television Studios, where she assisted with the casting of pilots and television series, and in the Entertainment Marketing and Comedy Touring departments at Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency. She served as the marketing director and was a co-founding board member of the Catalina Film Festival. She also founded DisABILITY In Media, which focuses on positive disability inclusion storytelling through social media.
Kekula received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Providence College.
A prolific public speaker and advocate for disability inclusion on a global scale, she has spoken at over 200 venues, including schools, corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies, throughout the U.S. and beyond.
Jennifer LaFleur is the Data Editor for the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University and a data journalist-in-residence at AU’s School of Communication.
LaFleur was previously senior editor for data journalism for the award-winning Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, which she joined in 2013, and where she worked as a senior editor, managing news apps developers, data reporters, investigative reporters and fellows. She also contributed to or edited dozens of major projects while at Reveal.
LaFleur is also the former director of computer-assisted reporting at ProPublica and has held similar roles at The Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was also the first training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors(IRE).
She has won numerous journalism awards, including for her coverage of disability, legal and open government issues, and spoken to and trained hundreds of journalists around the world for roughly a quarter century. She was part of a team of journalists that won the very prestigious Phil Meyer Award (in 2013) and her work and projects won Third Place honors in the Phil Meyer Award competitions in 2011 and 2012.
Susan M. LoTempio
Susan LoTempio worked for The Buffalo News for 25 years, serving as readership editor, assistant managing editor for Features, Lifestyle assignment editor, and editor of the youth section NeXt, which she created. She has written and lectured on how media cover disability issues and why they need to report beyond the stereotypes of disability. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, New Mobility Magazine, Children’s Beat Magazine, the Dallas Morning News, and The Buffalo News. She wrote a popular blog Diversity at Work for the Poynter Institute about media representations of disability. LoTempio retired in 2011 and now volunteers for organizations devoted to issues of disability.
Wendy Lu is a news editor and reporter at HuffPost covering the intersection of disability, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Bustle, Quartz, Columbia Journalism Review and more. Wendy is a global speaker on disability representation in the media and served as a 2020 judge for NCDJ’s annual Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Disability Reporting. She is also a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow, working to develop a curriculum to educate reporters on how to cover disability issues and train newsrooms to be more inclusive of disabled journalists. She was named one of 30 global disability leaders on Diversability’s D-30 Disability Impact List of 2020. Wendy holds a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School and a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism. She is based in New York City.
Cara Reedy, Program Manager for DREDF’s Disability Media Alliance Project (DMAP), has been involved in media her entire life in one form or another. She’s a journalist, an actor and a photographer. Her journey in media has taken several twists and turns. People with disabilities have to create the world they want to operate in before they can do what they are passionate about. Cara is no exception. She worked at CNN for ten years, produced docs, did some food writing and, yes, reported on disability.
In 2015, she quit CNN and starred in a self-produced pilot and directed another. In 2018, Cara freelanced at NPR on Weekend All Things Considered. In 2019 she co-produced a short doc for The Guardian “Dwarfism and Me.”
Cara believes that Disability–the world’s largest minority that crosses race, socio-economic class and age is only in the beginning stages of being represented properly by the media. Anyone can become disabled at any point in their life and yet disability continues to be spoken about as something unnatural and unusual. As the Program Manager for DMAP, Cara wants to make space for Disabled media professionals to lead the conversations that most affect our lives. Having disabled people control our own narrative will make for more truthful storytelling. The world has been missing out and the journalist in Cara knows that cannot stand.
Amy Silverman is a Phoenix-based writer, editor and teacher. She’s managing editor at Phoenix New Times and a commentator for KJZZ, the National Public Radio affiliate in Phoenix. Her work also has appeared on the radio show “This American Life” and in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Lenny Letter. She co-teaches the long-running “Mothers Who Write”workshop in Phoenix and has taught at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Silverman holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She lives in Arizona with her husband, Ray, and daughters, Annabelle and Sophie. Her book about Sophie, “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome,” was published by Woodbine House in 2016.