journalism

The New York Times, NCDJ Partner to Enhance Coverage of Disability Issues

NCDJ logo and New York Times logo together on black and grey grid.

By Kasey Brammell

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.

Ford Foundation unveiled their Creative Futures fellows last week.

CREATIVE FUTURES is a series of 40 provocations by thinkers across the spheres of arts and culture, documentary film, and journalism unfolding throughout the fall of 2020.

Read the full story here.

Living with a disability during a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of inequalities in our society related to race, gender, class, legal status and age. However, conspicuously missing from much of the media coverage on these issues are the stories of how the crisis is affecting the disabled community.

Read the full article here: https://asunow.asu.edu/20200612-sun-devil-life-living-disability-during-pandemic

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.

A new wheelchair will help this University of Florida student journalist do stand-ups — literally

Drew Dees in front of a camera.
University of Florida student journalist Drew Dees works on a video project with UF’s creative services team. (Photo courtesy Drew Dees)

By: , Poynter

Student journalist Drew Dees is kind but firm when he interviews people for his Florida college TV station.

Please stand up, he instructs them. Don’t crouch down in front of me. I’m not a baby.

He understands that people might not be used to seeing a journalist in a wheelchair — he never saw any on TV when he was growing up — but he demands to be treated the same as any other reporter.

“One of the big barriers in this career field is getting people to … take you seriously,” he said.

A 24-year-old junior at the University of Florida, Dees said he’s had overwhelming support from his family and professors as he pursues a degree in broadcast journalism. His dream of being an on-air reporter and anchor feels even more real now that his insurance company has agreed to provide him with a new $50,000 wheelchair. The Permobil F5 Corpus VS chair will allow him to move from a sitting position to standing with the touch of a button.

“It’s just going to make such a world of difference for me,” he said. “Just to be able to stand up and be able to talk to people on eye level and not have to look up at someone; that’s just the most amazing feeling to me.”

The chair will also allow him to do what’s known in TV news as a standup, where a reporter shares information on camera while standing or walking.

“It’s going to allow me to be more creative, to have more of that demonstrative standup that we look for instead of just being a talking head,” he said.

Dees got a test run of the new chair during a recent fitting to make sure it’s properly adjusted to his body. The chair won’t be ready for several months, but Dees was so excited that he posted a picture on social media of him using the chair to stand up. On a whim, he shared that photo and story in a journalism Facebook group that has about 15,000 members.

Read the full article here:https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/a-new-wheelchair-will-help-this-university-of-florida-student-journalist-do-stand-ups-literally/

Apple’s new emoji include disability-related symbols. I’m not thrilled.

Apple emojis
(Stock)

On Monday, as part of its IOS 13.2 release, Apple released 398 new emoji, including a sloth, a flamingo, buttered waffles — and several disability-related symbols, including images of people with different skin tones in wheelchairs, a prosthetic leg, a blind person with a probing cane, a service dog and a hearing aid.

Disability advocates are cheering. I’m not thrilled.

As both the mother of a child with a disability and a journalist who covers disability-related issues, I have trained myself to look past labels to consider individuals. Just as the blue-and-white international “handicapped” symbol falls far short of including all people with disabilities, so does this handful of emoji.

Read Amy Silverman’s full piece for The Washington Post, Apple’s new emoji include disability-related symbols. I’m not thrilled.

“Disability Angle” Helps Reporters Discover Better Stories

Media coverage of people with disabilities is regularly criticized as being too shallow, too stereotypical and too rare.

The National Center on Disability and Journalism is trying to change that with a new series of posts for journalists that offer story ideas and story angles for a wide range of disability coverage.

The series was created by Susan LoTempio, a journalist with a long career writing about, lecturing on and living with disability. She was an editor at The Buffalo News, and wrote a popular “Diversity at Work” column for the Poynter Institute that focused on disability. She is now a member of the NCDJ Advisory Board.

Her new project consists of a series of short posts that will be offered regularly through social media and archived on the NCDJ website. The posts will cover topics from education and health to politics, housing and transportation, all designed to help reporters do a better job of covering this important and growing segment of the country.

Follow us on Twitter @ASUNCDJ or on Facebook.

 

Susan LoTempio
Susan LoTempio, NCDJ Advisory Board Member

How to Accurately and Inclusively Cover Mass Shootings

The image depicts a paper gun range shooting target with several bullet holes. (Image: Wikimedia)
The image depicts a paper gun range shooting target with several bullet holes. (Image: Wikimedia)

In response to the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) has released a guide to help journalists “accurately and inclusively cover mass shootings.”

A full section of the NAHJ guide is dedicated to helping journalists cover gun violence without stigmatizing mental illness, or implying that a shooter’s mental illness caused or contributed to the violence. Among other recommendations, the NAHJ guide tells journalists that it is “inexcusable to mention the mental health issues the alleged killer might have been dealing with in an attempt to dismantle the reasoning behind this crime against humanity.” Additionally, the guide acknowledges that traumatic stories like the shooting in El Paso can be painful to cover and reminds reporters that it is always okay to reach out for help.

Click here to access How to Accurately and Inclusively Cover Mass Shootings on the NAHJ website.