contest archive

NCDJ Accepting Entries in Annual Disability Reporting Contest

NCDJ 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

May 15, 2020

The National Center on Disability and Journalism is now accepting entries for the 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage.

Winners will receive a total of $8,000 in cash awards for first-, second- and third-place finishes in large media and small media categories. First-place winners in each category will be awarded $2,500 and invited to give a public lecture for the Cronkite School in fall 2020. Second-place winners will receive $1,000, third-place winners $500.

Journalists working in digital, print and broadcast media are eligible to enter. Entries are accepted from outside the U.S., although the work submitted must be in English. There is no entry fee.

Entries must have been published or aired between July 1, 2019, and July 31, 2020. The deadline to enter is Aug. 17, 2020. For more information and to enter, go to https://ncdj.org/contest/.

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

The top 2019 award in the large media category went to an investigation into a New York City initiative to let those with severe mental illnesses live on their own. The project was a collaboration of ProPublica, The New York Times and PBS Frontline. The first-place winner in the small media category was a collaborative documentary between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee PBS. The program followed the lives of four young people from Wisconsin as they navigated mental health challenges. To read more about the 2019 award-winners, visit https://cronkite.asu.edu/news-and-events/news/propublica-and-pbs-frontline-milwaukee-journal-sentinel-and-milwaukee-pbs-win.

For all the past winners, visit https://ncdj.org/contest/ncdj-contest-archive/.

The Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability is administered each year by the NCDJ, which is part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It is supported by a gift from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who also supports the Schneider Family Book Award, honoring the best children’s book each year that captures the disability experience for children and adolescents. That award is administered by the American Library Association.

Schneider, who has been blind since birth, said she hopes the award will help journalists improve their coverage of disability issues, moving beyond “inspirational” stories that don’t accurately represent the lives of people with disabilities. “That kind of stuff is remarkable, but that’s not life as most of us live it,” she said.

The NCDJ, which has been housed at the Cronkite School since 2008, offers resources and materials for journalists covering disability issues and topics, including a widely used disability language stylebook. For more information, visit the NCDJ’s website at https://ncdj.org.

2018 Contest Winners

2018 Winners

Ruderman Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

 

 FIRST PLACE

“Abused and Betrayed”

National Public Radio

Joseph Shapiro, Robert Little, Meg Anderson

Read story HERE

Overview: This NPR series examines the hidden epidemic of people with intellectual disabilities being sexually assaulted. The NPR Investigations Team spent more than a year sifting through court records and interviewing victims and family members. They found that crimes against people with intellectual disabilities often go unrecognized, unprosecuted and unpunished, leaving the abuser free to abuse again. The investigation also included a first-ever analysis of federal crime data and tracked what states are doing about the issue.

 

SECOND PLACE          

“Pain and Profit”

Dallas Morning News

David McSwane, Andrew Chavez David

Read story HERE  

Overview: “Pain and profit” documents the way Texas treats fragile people who rely on Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor and disabled. With the help of whistleblowers and more than 160 public records requests, the series exposed the systemic denials of care and other abuses by companies paid to administer Medicaid. The Texas legislature held hearings on the findings and began considering new legislation to address the problems. 

 

THIRD PLACE

“Stuck Kids”

ProPublica Illinois

Read story HERE  

Overview: Duaa Eldeib, Sandhya Kambhampati, and Vignesh Ramachandran

The “Stuck Kids” investigation reveals that between 2015 and 2017, 21 percent of the time children spent in psychiatric hospitals in Illinois was not medically necessary. The children remained confined to hospitals because the state failed to find appropriate placements for them. Some children were stuck in psychiatric hospitals for months, despite evidence that unnecessarily prolonged hospital stays can have detrimental effects on children in terms of both their emotional well-being and their behavior.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

“Aftereffect”

WNYC, New York public radio

Audrey Quinn, Aneri Pattani, Phoebe Wang

Listen HERE

Overview: “Aftereffect” is an eight-episode podcast that takes listeners inside the life of Arnaldo Rios Soto, a 26-year-old, non-speaking man with autism whose life was upended in 2016 when someone mistook a silver toy truck in his hand for a gun. Police arrived and ended up shooting and severely wounded Arnaldo’s aide, which set off a sequence of events that put Arnaldo’s life in a downward spiral.

 

OTHER NOTABLE ENTRIES

Presented in alphabetical order by title of entry

“Alive Inside”

Mike Hixenbaugh, Houston Chronicle

December 5, 2017

Read HERE

Overview: Of the thousands of severely brain-injured people who are discharged to nursing homes or acute care hospitals in the U.S. each year, 40 percent are estimated to be covertly aware, or in the “minimally conscious state.” They drift between consciousness and brain death, trapped inside themselves and unable to communicate. This story takes a personal look at just one of the many people who are “alive inside,” despite appearing to be in a vegetative state.

 

“Schools Aren’t Preparing Students With Disabilities for Active Shooter Scenarios”

Jordan Davidson, The Mighty

March 14, 2018

Read HERE

Overview: There were more than 100 school shootings between Sandy Hook in 2012 and Parkland in early 2018, but there’s still no federal mandate for schools to hold active shooter drills. That means it’s up to individual schools to decide if — and how — to prepare students. As this article explores, modifications for students with disabilities are rarely included in these trainings.

 

2018 Winners

Katherine Schneider Medal

 

FIRST PLACE

“Nowhere to Go”

Kaiser Health News

Christina Jewett

Read story HERE

Overview: “Nowhere to Go” shows how teenagers and young adults with autism are spending weeks or even months in hospitals, where they are sedated, restrained or confined to mesh-tented beds. These young people are taken to hospitals when families can’t get help from community social services and other programs; they end up calling 911, and those calls often result in long and agonizing hospital stays for their loved ones.

 

SECOND PLACE

“Back of the Class”

KING Television in Seattle, Washington

Susannah Frame, Taylor Mirfendereski, Ryan Coe

Watch HERE

Overview: “Back of the Class” documents how thousands of children in the state of Washington are segregated in public schools, in violation of federal and state laws and despite research that shows children with disabilities made better progress in integrated classrooms. Children with disabilities are isolated from other students in classroom settings and even in the lunchroom, often as a way to save money, the report concludes, and Washington State has one of the worst records in the country in serving such children.

 

 THIRD PLACE

“Trapped” Better Government Association and WBEZ Chicago Public Media

Alejandra Cancino, Better Government Association

Odette Yousef, WBEZ Chicago Public Media

Read story HERE  

Overview: “Trapped” exposes unsafe elevators, shoddy record keeping and failed oversight at the Chicago Housing Authority, where many elderly tenants live, as the series put it, “in fear of their own buildings.” Hundreds of these residents, for whom stairs are not an option, end up trapped inside unsafe elevators in high-rise apartment buildings owned by the housing authority. The problems continue despite repeated citations for safety violations, flunked safety inspections and hundreds of panicked calls to 911. The series prompted the housing authority to begin a $25 million project to modernize and replace elevators.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

“Flying the Unfriendly Skies”

New Mobility Magazine

Kenny Salvini

Read story HERE 

Overview: “Flying the Unfriendly Skies” relates how, in the course of a single year, the author’s  wheelchair was damaged two times by two different airlines.“ Once is a case of bad luck. Twice is the universe revealing your path. Having two wheelchairs destroyed by two different airlines in the span of a year has a way of thrusting you into a bit of reluctant advocacy with a lot of questions that need answers,” Salvini writes. He set out to find the answers and discovered a history of failed airline policies and a seeming indifference that affects thousands of others who live with disabilities.

 

NOTABLE ENTRY

“Out of Options”

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

April 23, 2018

Watch HERE

Overview: This video documentary follows two Texas families as they begin their journey to pursuing an alternative form of medical treatment for children with epilepsy: cannabis oil, or CBD oil. Despite the state’s passage of the Compassionate Use Act in 2015, which legalized a certain type of CBD oil for epilepsy patients who haven’t responded to federally-approved medication, families still face challenges with getting the treatment. 

Congratulations to Winners of the 2018 Ruderman Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability and the Katherine Schneider Medal!

The Ruderman Awards are the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to recognizing excellence in the coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues.

A major investigation by NPR into the hidden epidemic of sexual violence against people with intellectual disabilities won the top honor. In addition to NPR, journalists from eight organizations won awards, including The Dallas Morning News, ProPublica Illinois, WNYC, Kaiser Health News, KING-TV, Better Government Association/WBEZ and New Mobility.

The Katherine Schneider Medal is an honor recognizing disability journalism by small media outlets. The contest continues the work of Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist, who launched the first NCDJ awards program.

2018 Winners: Ruderman Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

1st place – National Public Radio
“Abuse and Betrayal”
Joseph Shapiro, Robert Little, Meg Anderson

Joseph Shapiro is an NPR News Investigations correspondent who has covered disability stories since 1987. His recent investigations have exposed the overuse of seclusion and restraint for students with disabilities and the failure of government to enforce the rights of people with disabilities to receive long-term care at home.

Meg Anderson is a producer on the NPR investigations team, where she has contributed to award-winning work on maternal care, housing and immigration issues. Before earning her graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she became intimately familiar with the power of language and storytelling as a bilingual third grade teacher in Minneapolis.

Robert Little

Robert Little leads NPR's investigations team. He works with reporters, producers, and editors to develop investigative stories for all of NPR's broadcast and digital platforms, and also oversees partnerships with other non-profit news organizations doing high-level investigative work. Before joining NPR, Little spent 15 years as a reporter and editor at The Baltimore Sun. He's won numerous local and national journalism awards, including the George Polk Award for his investigative reporting in Iraq. 


2nd place – Dallas Morning News
“Pain and Profit”
J. David McSwane, Andrew Chavez

J. David McSwane is an investigative reporter for The Dallas Morning News, where he's focused on a variety of issues including the state's broken child welfare and healthcare systems. He is a recipient of the Peabody Award and Texas APME's top honor for investigative work, among others.
Andrew Chavez is a senior computational journalist on the data and interactives team at The Dallas Morning News. Before that, he worked at the Austin American-Statesman and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 2008.

3rd place – ProPublica Illinois
“Stuck Kids”
Duaa Eldeib, Sandhya Kambhampati, Vignesh Ramachandran, David Eads

Duaa Eldeib is a reporter for ProPublica Illinois. Her work has examined the death of children in state care, the treatment of juveniles in adult court and police use of polygraphs in cases where suspects were wrongly convicted. Before joining ProPublica, she was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. There, Eldeib and two colleagues were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2015.
Sandhya Kambhampati is a data reporter at ProPublica Illinois, focused on analyzing statistics, databases and public records to uncover structural issues and abuses. Most recently, she co-reported on the widespread inaccuracies in Cook County's property tax assessment system, which was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Local Reporting in 2018.
Vignesh Ramachandran is a producer at ProPublica Illinois, focused on digital production, design and editorial workflow. He is also interested in exploring issues surrounding race, criminal justice and technology. Before he joined ProPublica, he was a founding member of the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab and managing editor of Bay Area local news startup Peninsula Press (in partnership with SFGate and KQED).
David Eads
David Eads is a news applications developer at ProPublica Illinois, where he combines journalism with software development. While in college David helped found the Invisible Institute, where he also maintained a blog about Chicago public housing called The View From The Ground. He’s also worked on visual journalism teams at the Chicago Tribune and, most recently, at NPR Visuals.

Honorable Mention – WNYC
“Aftereffect”
Audrey Quinn, Host; Aneri Pattani, Producer; Phoebe Wang, Producer

Audrey Quinn is a reporter at New York Public Radio, WNYC and host of the WNYC Studios podcast Aftermath. She also teaches documentary audio reporting at the NYU School of Journalism. Audrey’s investigative work has been awarded by the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund and published by the New York Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Aneri Pattani is a health reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covers health issues in young people. In the past, she has worked as an assistant producer on the health team at WNYC, a James Reston reporting fellow on the health/science desk at The New York Times, and a reporting companion to columnist Nicholas Kristof in Liberia. She has also written for The Boston Globe, The Texas Tribune, CNBC, and The Hartford Courant.
Phoebe Wang
Phoebe Wang is the assistant producer of Aftereffect, and a multidisciplinary artist based between Brooklyn, NY and Toronto, ON. Phoebe was a member of The Heart audio art project, and was most recently Senior Producer of The Shadows, a CBC fiction podcast. In 2018, she was awarded an NLJGA Excellence in Journalism Award and was named Best New Artist at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

 


2018 Winners: Katherine Schneider Medal

1st place – Kaiser Health News
“Nowhere to Go”
Christina Jewett

Christina Jewett, Senior Correspondent with the KHN enterprise team, covers end-of-life and acute care. She spent seven years with The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she worked on a series that uncovered widespread graft in Medicaid-funded drug rehab centers. At CIR she and colleagues won a George Polk Award for medical reporting.

 


2nd place – KING Television
“Back of the Class”
Susannah Frame, Taylor Mirfendereski, Ryan Coe

Susannah Frame is the Chief Investigative Reporter at KING 5 Television. Her work has garnered many of the country’s top journalism awards, including the Peabody Award, a National Edward R. Murrow Award and the du-Pont Columbia Award. Her pursuit of the truth has resulted in many changes in public policy.
Taylor Mirfendereski is a special projects reporter at KING 5 in Seattle, specializing in digital storytelling and long-term investigations. Her reporting has exposed many wrongs, including the mistreatment of wounded soldiers and the violation of state and federal special education laws. Her work has garnered a number of awards, including a National Mark of Excellence Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award and various regional awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

 


3rd place – WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Better Government Association
“Trapped”
Alejandra Cancino, Odette Yousef

Alejandra Cancino is an investigative reporter at Better Government Association. She was a 2015-2016 journalism fellow at the The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research based at the University of Chicago. Prior to the Tribune she worked at The Palm Beach Post. Alejandra is the president of the Chicago Headline Club, the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter covering immigration, race and class. In 2016, Odette was part of a team at WBEZ to win a National Edward R. Murrow Award for best Continuing Coverage of how local officials in Puerto Rico were sending drug addicts to unlicensed therapy groups in Chicago, with false promises of professional treatment. She has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World and WNYC’s The Takeaway. 

 


Honorable Mention – New Mobility Magazine
“Flying the Unfriendly Skies”
Kenny Salvini

Kenny Salvini is a writer, advocate and community organizer living in Sumner, Washington. An elite athlete who became paralyzed from the neck down after a snow skiing accident in 2004, he turned to writing to help piece back together his fractured identity. He is active in the paralysis community and in 2013, he launched The Here and Now Project, a social support network for paralysis survivors and their families in the Northwest.

 

Ruderman Family Foundation Launches Journalism Awards for Excellence in Disability Reporting

The Ruderman Family Foundation announced today a major new journalism awards program to recognize the best disability reporting produced each year by media organizations around the world.

The new Ruderman Foundation Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability will recognize work done by large-market digital, broadcast and print media outlets, with prizes of $10,000, $2,500 and $1,000 for first-, second- and third-place winners, respectively. The first Ruderman Foundation awards will be presented in fall 2018 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring a keynote address on disability journalism as well as a workshop for journalists on how to improve disability coverage.

The program will be administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, which has directed a smaller disability awards program since 2013.

At the same time, the NCDJ has created an honor recognizing disability journalism by small media outlets. That contest continues the work of Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist, who launched the first NCDJ awards program. The Katherine Schneider Medal will honor local journalists in small markets who produce outstanding disability reporting.

The Ruderman Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society.

Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing society.

“All too often people with disabilities are conveyed as charity cases or objects of pity,” Ruderman said. “We hope that this award will change the landscape of journalism so that reporters will portray people with disabilities as active and contributing members of society. This coverage will reach millions of Americans, and the public perception of disability will shift, leading to more meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities throughout all sectors of society.”

The NCDJ has been part of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication since 2008. The organization provides support and guidance for journalists as they cover people with disabilities, including a popular style guide that offers advice on the use of disability-related words and terms.

Cronkite Senior Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, who directs the NCDJ, said people with disabilities make up at least 19 percent of the U.S. population – 54.4 million people, yet important disability issues still don’t get the attention they deserve, and, too often, the coverage that does exist portrays people with disabilities in stereotypical or inaccurate ways.

“The support from the Ruderman Family Foundation and Katherine Schneider is an important step in helping journalists and the general public better understand people with disabilities and disability issues,” she said.

Entries for the Ruderman Foundation Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability and Katherine Schneider Medal will be accepted beginning in May 2018 at http://ncdj.org.

About the Ruderman Family Foundation

The Ruderman Family Foundation is an internationally recognized organization, which advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our society. The Foundation supports effective programs, innovative partnerships and a dynamic approach to philanthropy in advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the United States and the world.

The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that inclusion and understanding of all people is essential to a fair and flourishing community and imposes these values within its leadership and funding.

For more information, please visit www.rudermanfoundation.org.

About the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Cronkite School at Arizona State University is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier professional journalism programs. The School’s 1,800 students regularly lead the country in national journalism competitions. They are guided by faculty comprised of award-winning professional journalists and world-class media scholars. Cronkite’s full-immersion professional programs give students opportunities to practice what they’ve learned in a real-world setting under the guidance of professionals.

‘Doomed by Delay’: NCDJ co-winner Callahan has new story on Krabbe disease

If a hospital fails to identify symptoms of a debilitating disease in infants it could spell disaster for patients as they grow up. In her story “Doomed by Delay,” Chicago Tribune investigative journalist Patricia Callahan describes the struggles of parents of children with Krabbe disease who weren’t properly diagnosed until it was too late to salvage their motor functions. Callahan is the 1st place co-winner, along with Michael J. Berens, of the NCDJ’s 2017 Katherine Schneider Award for Disability Journalism.

In a related report, Chicago Tribune photographer Brian Cassella interviews the mother and caretaker of a 6-year-old living with Krabbe disease.

Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens take home top prize for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

The Chicago Tribune’s investigative reporters Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens took home 1st Prize in this year’s Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. On November 27th the veteran reporting team visited downtown Phoenix to tour Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, meet school staff and students, conduct several video interviews and meet other contest winners. In the evening they participated in a panel discussion, hosted by NCDJ Advisory Board member Leon Dash, for the Cronkite School’s “Must See Mondays” speaker series. During the panel Callahan and Berens described challenges of acquiring and analyzing Illinois public records that documented mistreatment of people with disabilities at state-funded group homes. Emotional photos by Chicago Tribune’s John J. Kim from Callahan and Beren’s award-winning series “Suffering in Secret” were projected on the video screen behind the panel. A full video recording of the panel discussion and ceremony is now available on Vimeo. Click HERE to watch it.

First Place winners Patricia Callahan and Michael Berens pose with awards sponsor Katherine Schneider on November 27, 2017 at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
First Place winners Patricia Callahan and Michael J. Berens pose with awards sponsor Katherine Schneider on November 27, 2017 at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

NCDJ award ceremony Monday, Nov 27 at ASU’s Cronkite School

Supporters of disability journalism are encouraged to join ASU and NCDJ members this coming Monday, November 27th when we present the 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability to winners Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan. The ceremony will include a panel discussion with the winners hosted by media scholar Leon Dash. The ceremony and panel will also feature contest honorable mention winner Belo Cipriani who won for his series titled “Seeing in the Dark.” This is a free, public event and will feature a Q&A session at the end of the panel discussion. We hope you can make it!

EVENT DATE: Monday, November 27 at 7pm

EVENT LOCATION:  ASU’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004.

Chicago Tribune Wins 2017 Disability Reporting Award

A Chicago Tribune investigation into the mistreatment of disabled adults in Illinois group homes won the top honor in the 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the only journalism awards competition devoted exclusively to disability reporting.

In “Suffering in Secret,” Tribune reporters Michael J. Berens and Patricia Callahan identified more than 1,300 cases of documented harm since July 2011 in Illinois’ taxpayer-funded group homes and their day programs. The reporters uncovered at least 42 deaths linked to abuse or neglect in group homes or their day programs and uncovered state records of residents fatally choking on improperly prepared food, succumbing to untreated bed sores and languishing in pain from undiagnosed ailments.

Second place went to the Brian M. Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle. Third place was awarded to Mona Yeh, Sonya Green and Yuko Kodama for reports aired on Seattle-Tacoma public radio station 91.3 KBCS, and honorable mention went to Belo Cipriani of The Bay Area Reporter.

“PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff, who served as a judge, noted that the Chicago Tribune’s investigation had real consequences in Illinois, where state officials vowed increased transparency and oversight of taxpayer-funded group homes and legislators are considering laws to force reforms. The license of one group home provider highlighted in the series was revoked, and residents were moved to other facilities. “The amount of time that went into this project and what the reporters were able to uncover just blew me away,” Woodruff said.

The three-part series was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting as well as the winner of the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism and an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in 2016.

Berens and Callahan will accept the first-place award and a $5,000 cash prize Nov. 27 at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, where they also will deliver a public talk on their work. Their appearance, which is part of the school’s “Must See Mondays” lecture series, will be at 7 p.m. in the school’s First Amendment Forum. It is free of charge and open to the public, and sign language interpreting and captioning services will be provided.

The second place Schneider award and a $1,500 prize were awarded to Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle for an investigation that revealed how Texas officials systematically denied special education services to thousands of children. The seven-part series, “Denied,” found that Texas placed a cap on how many children could receive special education services, saving billions of dollars but denying services to children with disabilities ranging from epilepsy and blindness to autism and attention deficit disorder.

Judges said they were shocked by Rosenthal’s revelations. The state’s actions, they said, showed a complete disregard for children with disabilities and their families.

Third place and a $500 prize went to Yeh, Green and Kodama for two radio pieces chronicling the experiences of one wheelchair user trying to navigate public transportation in Seattle. “Dorian Wants Transit Policy Toward Disabled Persons to Change,” aired on the Seattle-Tacoma public radio station 91.3 KBCS and was supported by the Association of Independents in Radio.

Cipriani, who is blind, received an honorable mention and a $250 prize for a series, “Seeing in the Dark,” published in the Bay Area Reporter. Cipriani writes about the disabled community in the Bay Area, challenging stereotypes about disability ranging from sex to parenting.

Judge Tony Coelho, a former six-term U.S. congressman from California and the primary sponsor of the Americans With Disabilities Act, said Cipriani is an important voice and one of a growing number of people with disabilities who are “writing about the everyday lives of people with disabilities.” Too often, he said, reporting on disabilities is “about us” rather than “by us.”

In addition to Coelho and Woodruff, the judges for this year’s contest were Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter Leon Dash, now Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Jennifer Longdon, a Phoenix-based writer, speaker, advocate and policy adviser on issues related to disability.

The Schneider Award was established in 2013 with the support of Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who has been blind since birth and who also supports the national Schneider Family Book Awards. The reporting contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Cronkite School.

Since 2013, the top Schneider Awards have gone to Ryan Gabrielson of California Watch, Dan Barry of The New York Times, Heather Vogell of ProPublica and Chris Serres of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Minneapolis Star Tribune Wins 2016 Disability Reporting Award

A Minneapolis Star Tribune investigation into state-subsidized sheltered workshops in Minnesota has won the top honor in the 2016 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability.

In “A Matter of Dignity,” Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres, along with reporter Glenn Howatt and photographer David Joles, reveals how hundreds of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities are segregated and neglected in a state system of sheltered workshops.

The investigation found that hundreds of adults with disabilities have been sent against their will to live in remote and dangerous group homes. The five-part series tells the stories of adults with Down syndrome who spend their days collecting trash for $2 an hour and workers with brain injuries who scrub toilets for half the minimum wage and relates how one young woman with bipolar disorder escaped from her group home and threw herself in front of a speeding car.

The Schneider Award is the only journalism awards competition devoted exclusively to disability reporting. It was established in 2013 with the support of Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who has been blind since birth and who also supports the national Schneider Family Book Awards. The reporting contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Second place went to WAMU 88.5, the NPR station in Washington, D.C., and third place was awarded to ProPublica. Judges also gave an honorable mention to Business World in New Delhi, the first international news outlet to be honored in the contest.

Schneider Award judge Jennifer Longdon, a writer, speaker, advocate and policy adviser on disability issues, said the Minneapolis Star Tribune series was impressive for “its exhaustive chronicling of the experience of adults with disabilities in Minnesota — from the indignities of sheltered workshops to the hopeless years-long wait for vital services that never arrive. These memorable stories were masterfully told while preserving the dignity of the individuals profiled.”

Serres will accept the award and a $5,000 cash prize on behalf of the Star Tribune Nov. 28 at the Cronkite School, where he also will deliver a talk on his work to students, faculty and the public. His appearance, which is part of the school’s “Must See Mondays” lecture series, will be at 7 p.m. in the school’s First Amendment Forum. It is free of charge and open to the public, and sign language interpreting will be provided.

Judges awarded second place and a $1,500 prize to web producer and reporter Martin Austermuhle of WAMU public radio station in Washington, D.C., for “From Institution to Inclusion.” The series of radio broadcasts and digital reporting chronicled the history of a 40-year-old class action lawsuit that closed Forest Haven, the institution where residents of Washington, D.C., with intellectual and developmental disabilities were sent to live. Austermuhle also reported on the city’s difficulties in caring for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Third place and a $500 prize went to David Epstein of ProPublica for “The DIY Scientist, the Olympian, and the Mutated Gene,” a story of do-it-yourself genetics that helped a 39-year-old Iowa mother named Jill Viles solve her mysterious degenerative muscle disorder. Working with “This American Life” producer Miki Meek, Epstein wrote the podcast script and narrated the story of Viles’ quest to understand what had caused her fat to melt away and her muscles to wither.

Business World of India correspondent Sonal Khetarpal received an honorable mention and a $500 prize for “Insensitive Inc.,” an accounting of employers in India who are implementing inclusive workplace practices, such as flex-time, for employees with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

In addition to Longdon, the judges for this year’s contest were Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter Leon Dash, now Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; John Hockenberry, an award-winning reporter who hosts “The Takeaway,” a radio news program that airs on almost 200 stations across the country; and Amy Silverman, managing editor of the Phoenix New Times alternative newsweekly and the author of a new book, “My Heart Can’t Even Believe it: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome.”

Since 2013, the top Schneider Awards have gone to Ryan Gabrielson of California Watch, Dan Barry of The New York Times and Heather Vogell of ProPublica.

“The winners have all produced important watchdog journalism that advances the understanding of disability,” said NCDJ Director Kristin Gilger, who is the associate dean of the Cronkite School. “The quality of this year’s entries was more impressive than ever, a sign that disability issues are beginning to receive the kind of media attention that is warranted, given the number of people who live with disabilities. We’re extremely proud of all of the winners and look forward to honoring Chris Serres in November.”