NCDJ Advisory Board

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

Black and white portrait of Andrew Becker, member of NCDJ Advisory Board.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.

Jerry Ceppos

CepposCeppos became dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University in July 2011. For three and a half years before that, he was dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Although Ceppos spent most of his career in newspapers, he has been interested in journalism education for years. He has been a member of the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which sets standards and accredits journalism schools, for more than 20 years. For six of those years, he served as president of the council. In 2000, he was honored by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication with the Gerald M. Sass Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Mass Communication Education.

In the profession, Ceppos was vice president for news Knight Ridder, then the second-largest newspaper company; managing editor and executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News; assistant managing editor of the Miami Herald, and a reporter and editor at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

He served twice as president of the California Society of Newspaper Editors and was president of the Associated Press Managing Editors. He has been active with First Amendment issues and is a former board member of the Student Press Law Center and of the First Amendment Coalition in California. He was one of three winners of the first Ethics in Journalism Award of the Society of Professional Journalists. He also won the Knight Ridder Excellence Award for Diversity for diversifying the staff and pages of the San Jose Mercury News. He is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Maryland.

Becky Curran

Becky-CurranBecky Curran is the Disability Equality Index Program Manager at U.S. Business Leadership Network. She also serves as the president of the New York chapter of the Little People of America and owns and manages DisABILITY In Media, which focuses on storytelling through social media. She also is a motivational speaker on diversity and inclusion. Since 2011, she has spoken at more than 100 venues, including schools, corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

Curran has worked at Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, and at CBS Television Studios, where she assisted with the casting of pilots and television series. She was part of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Department at the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the world’s largest entertainment union. At SAG-AFTRA, 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. Curran also served as the marketing director and co-founding board member of the Catalina Film Festival.

Curran was born with achondroplasia, the most common type of short-limbed dwarfism. She stands 4 feet tall. Both of her parents and her sister are “average” height. When people ask her about whether or not she likes being a little person, she always has the same answer. “I never want to change, but I want the way the outside world reacts to my difference to change.” She now works to change negative perceptions of people living with disabilities in the U.S. You can learn more about Curran at

Leon Dash

Leon DashLeon 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.

Steve Doig

Steve DoigDoig is the Knight Chair in Journalism 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.

Beth Haller

Beth HallerHaller 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.

Jennifer LaFleur

Jennifer LaFleur Jennifer LaFleur is the Data Editor for American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop 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

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.

Amy Silverman

Headshot-AmySilvermanAmy 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.