Amanda Morris will be The New York Times’s first reporting fellow focused on disability issues.
The fellowship is in partnership with the National Center on Disability and Journalism and Mass Communication at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, which works with journalists around the world to improve reporting on disability. The two-year program is philanthropically supported and will recruit one fellow each year to work at The Times.
Raised by profoundly deaf parents, Amanda identifies with the disability community, having a moderate-to-severe hearing loss. She has worn a hearing aid since she was a year old. A graduate of New York University, she has reported for The Associated Press, NPR, CNN and The Hartford Courant, among others. Most recently, she was a bioscience reporter for The Arizona Republic.
NCDJ Opens Up 2021 Contest Recognizing Excellence in Disability Reporting
The National Center on Disability and Journalism is now accepting entries for the 2021 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 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 and 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.
Entries must have been published or aired between July 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021. The deadline to enter is Aug. 7, 2021. There is no entry fee. For more information and to enter, go to https://ncdj.org/contest/.
The National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University is partnering with The New York Times to create a new fellowship program to enhance coverage of disability issues and people with disabilities.
The program, to launch later this year, will place an early-career journalist in The Times newsroom each year for the next two years to develop expertise and report on a range of disability issues. It is set to be funded by philanthropy.
The fellow will be part of a larger fellowship cohort at The Times and will receive mentoring from both a Times’ staff member with expertise in covering disabilities and the NCDJ, which provides support and advice to journalists around the world who cover such issues. The NCDJ also will provide training to the Times’ newsroom.
Nearly one in five people in the United States lives with a disability, but these issues are undercovered, said Ted Kim, director of Early Career Journalism Strategy and Recruiting for The New York Times. “Few avenues exist to develop journalistic expertise on disability issues because such beats do not exist at most news outlets,” he said. “The lack of coverage, in turn, results in a lack of awareness about issues that affect a large portion of the country.”
Kristin Gilger, interim dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU and director of the NCDJ, echoed the need for more and better coverage of disability issues and people with disabilities. “This fellowship program is an important step in the right direction at one of the nation’s top media institutions,” she said.
The application is now open for the first fellow, who will join The Times in June. Preference will be given to promising early-career journalists who also have experience living with a disability or who have developed a deep understanding of disability through the experiences of a family member or loved one. The deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m., New York Time, on March 31, 2021. Applicants are advised to submit well before the deadline.
The fellows will be part of The New York Times Fellowship program , a talent pipeline initiative started in 2019 to seed and diversify the next generation of journalists in local newsrooms across America. It trains journalists in reporting, audio, visual and other disciplines.
The National Center on Disability and Journalism is a service of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. For the past 12 years at Cronkite, the center has provided support and training for journalists and other communications professionals with the goal of improving media coverage of disability issues and people with disabilities.
The National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has announced winners of the 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to the coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues.
Journalists working in digital, print and broadcast media from around the world competed for awards and cash prizes totaling $8,000. The NCDJ received more than 100 entries.
First place in the large media market category was awarded to “The Quiet Rooms,” an in-depth investigation by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. The project, written by Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and Jodi S. Cohen and Lakeidra Chavis of ProPublica Illinois, investigated the practice of isolating school children, many of whom have disabilities. The journalists examined records from more than 100 school districts across Illinois, concluding that while seclusion is sometimes legal, in many instances it was used outside the bounds of the law in ways that were cruel and unjustified.
“Excellent reporting reveals unconscionable horrors inflicted on children with disabilities,” said Lisa Davis, an author and faculty member in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University, who served as one of the judges.
“The story also expertly shows the ignorance and frustration of overwhelmed staff and the desperation of parents,” she said. “Taken as a whole, the situation is an epic mess with an urgent need for help. The detailed reporting, including the logs with times and children’s quotes, really brings this story to life.”
Smith Richards, Cohen and Chavis will receive $2,500 and an invitation to participate in a virtual public lecture with the Cronkite School on Monday, Nov. 2, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Elsen-Rooney explored what happened when the families of two boys from different backgrounds – living just 15 blocks apart in New York City – tried to get help for their children, both of whom struggled to learn to read. This story was part of a series from The Teacher Project and USA Today on private placements, and includes additional reporting from Sarah Carr, Sharon Lurye, and Ashley Okwuosa. Elsen-Rooney will receive $1,000.
Joseph Shapiro of National Public Radio won third place in the large media market category for his story “COVID-19 is a Disability Issue,” about the specific challenges faced by people with disabilities during the pandemic. Shapiro will receive $500.
Michael Schulson of Undark received honorable mention in the large media market for “The Physics, Economics, and Politics of Wheelchairs on Planes,” a look at the science behind airplanes and wheelchairs and an examination of the challenges faced by people who use wheelchairs 30 years after the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.
In addition to Davis, the judges for the large media market category were Jerry Ceppos, former dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, and Jennifer LaFleur, data editor for American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop.
First place in the small media market category was awarded to “Ignored: South Dakota is Failing Deaf Children,” an investigative series by Shelly Conlon of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The project explored the systematic decisions that lawmakers, educators and state officials have made at every level, leading to a dire lack of access to resources, accommodations and Deaf teachers.
“This investigation by the Argus Leader takes a comprehensive look at how Deaf and hard of hearing children and their families have fallen through the cracks of South Dakota’s education system,” said judge Wendy Lu, a news editor and reporter at HuffPost who covers the intersection of disability, politics and culture. “The story reveals a pattern of negligence and a lack of responsibility from those in power, while taking great care to center the voices of the community that’s being affected the most.”
Conlon will receive $2,500 and is invited to participate in the virtual public lecture at the Cronkite School on Nov. 2.
Janine Zeitlin of The News-Press/Naples Daily News won second place in the small media market category for “Forsaken,” a five-part series that followed a young woman for a year, revealing the inadequacies of both Florida’s foster care and mental health systems. Zeitlin will receive $1,000.
Ed Williams of Searchlight New Mexico took third place in the small media market category for “Restraint, Seclusion, Deception,” in which Williams exposed that not only are isolation rooms and restraint techniques misused in Albuquerque, New Mexico, schools, the actions are often kept secret. Williams will receive $500.
In addition to Lu, the judges for the small media market awards were Patricia Callahan, senior reporter for ProPublica; Leon Dash, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who is a professor of journalism at the University of Illinois; and Sara Luterman, who covers disability policy and politics for publications that include The Nation, Vox and The Washington Post.
The Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability 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.
The 2020 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability contest is now closed. We received more than 100 entries from media outlets all over the world on topics ranging from COVID-19 to the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and styles from lifestyle features to investigative projects.
Winners will be announced by the beginning of October.
Large Media Market Judges:
Jerry Ceppos is the former dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, where he now teaches.
Lisa Davis is a faculty member in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University, the recipient of more than 30 regional and national awards for journalism, and the author of The Sins of Brother Curtis, A Story of Betrayal, Conviction and the Mormon Church.
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.
Small Media Market Judges
Patricia Callahan is a senior reporter for ProPublica; she and Michael J. Berens won the Schneider Award in 2017 for “Suffering in Secret,” a Chicago Tribune investigation into abuse at state-run facilities for people with disabilities.
Leon Dash was a reporter with The Washington Postfor 32 years and has taught journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 22 years.
Wendy Lu is a news editor and reporter at HuffPost covering the intersection of disability, politics and culture.
Sara Luterman is a freelance journalist who covers disability policy and politics for publications including The Nation, Vox and The Washington Post; she is based in Washington, D.C.
The National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University today launched a campaign to encourage news coverage of people with disabilities in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The campaign consists of 30 story suggestions for journalists to consider that call attention to the changes brought about by passage of the ADA and the challenges that remain. The story ideas range from how disability communities are affected by COVID-19 to how changes in technology have transformed the lives of many living with disabilities.
“We’re hoping this campaign sparks more coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues,” said NCDJ Executive Director Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean at the Cronkite School. “People with disabilities make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, yet their stories are often overlooked. The 30th anniversary of the ADA is the perfect time to re-balance that equation.”
The ideas were drawn from studies and published articles as well as suggestions from members of the NCDJ advisory board, which consists of journalists, scholars and members of the disability community. Cronkite graduate student Molly Duerig compiled the information and created the campaign.
The landmark civil rights legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services. It defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities.”
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990. It was amended and updated in 2008.
The NCDJ has been part of the Cronkite School since 2008. The organization provides support and guidance for journalists as they cover disabilities through the publication of a popular disability language style guide, lists of resources and experts, and training materials. It also manages a journalism contest that recognizes the best disability reporting in the country each year.
For more information, contact: Kristin Gilger, NCDJ Executive Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Willie Levi died at the age of 73 on April 23 after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Levi, who lived with an intellectual disability, was part of a successful Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that fought for proper pay and working conditions for people with disabilities.
Levi was sent from his hometown of Orange, Texas to Iowa, where he worked alongside other men at a turkey-processing plant for decades. According to The New York Times, the men worked “in virtual servitude” for Henry’s Turkey Service.
Although Levi never made it back to Orange while he was alive, after his passing he was set to be buried in the same historic African-American cemetery that holds the remains of his mother, according to The New York Times.
By Liz Essley Whyte, Center for Public Integrity/The Daily Beast
An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that policies in at least 25 U.S. states have provisions that could de-prioritize health care for people with disabilities if cases of COVID-19 continue to ravage hospitals’ supplies.
Disability advocates have filed formal complaints in several states for their policies on who should get ventilators if hospitals run out. These policies take into account patients’ expected lifespan; need for resources, such as home oxygen; or specific diagnoses, such as dementia. Some policies even permit hospitals to take ventilators away from patients who use them as breathing aids in everyday life, and give the ventilators to other patients.
Twenty-five states have similar provisions in their rationing policies — and many other states either don’t have policies, or aren’t releasing them.
“There is a long history of people with disabilities being devalued by the medical system. That’s why we have civil rights laws,” said disability-rights activist Ari Ne’eman. “We don’t have an exception in our country’s civil rights laws for clinical judgment. We don’t take it on trust.”
By NCDJ board member Amy Silverman, for ProPublica/Arizona Daily Star
Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.
As Silverman reports, several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.
Some state plans — including Alabama’s — make clear that people with cognitive issues are a lower priority for lifesaving treatment. Alabama’s plan reads that “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.”
NCDJ board member Becky Curran Kekula appeared on this morning talk show to discuss tips for treating people with disabilities fairly and respectfully. Part of the discussion focused on the fact that since 70% of disabilities are invisible, many people are nervous to either admit they have a disability, or to speak about someone who may have a disability that isn’t immediately apparent.
Also featured are some of Becky’s favorite tips for working remotely — a particularly relevant topic in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.