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 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
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).
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
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 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, 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
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 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.