journalism

New York Times Names New Disability Reporting Fellow

Neelam Bohra was named as the New York Times disability reporting fellow in partnership with the National Center on Disability and Journalism. Neelam is immunocompromised and received a kidney transplant in 2019 from an altruistic donor who is also a journalist. She graduated this spring from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied journalism and government. Read more about her here.

Panel To Feature Journalists Talking About Disability

The National Center on Disability and Journalism and the National Press Photographers Association will host a panel discussion on journalism and disability Oct. 6 at 8:30 p.m. EST.

The session will focus on how disabilities can affect those seeking to get ahead in the visual journalism industry, how to navigate careers with disabilities and how to improve media coverage of individuals with disabilities.

The session will be moderated by Kristin Gilger, director of the NCDJ and Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Date and Time: October 6th, 2021

8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85492211592

Panelists are:

  • David Allbritton, senior photojournalist at CNN with over 30 years of experience in the news industry. In 1995, while covering the Balkan War for CNN in Sarajevo, he sustained life-threatening injuries when a 500-pound bomb blew up at the television center.
  • Ari Golub, staff photographer and visual storyteller for George Washington University’s student-run, independent paper, The GW Hatchet, and the President of GW’s Disabled Students Collective. He is an individual with autism.
  • Evan Halpop, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast, print and web. He lives with a form of autism and advocates for inclusion for all.
  • Amanda Morris, the first disability reporting fellow at The New York Times. She previously reported for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix and covered politics for The Associated Press. As someone with a hearing loss, she grew up regularly using American Sign Language with her two deaf parents.
  • Cara Reedy, program manager for Disability Media Alliance Project at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF). She previously worked at CNN producing documentaries and writing for CNN digital, and she is the co-producer of a short documentary, “Dwarfism and Me,” which explores the treatment of Dwarfs in American society.
  • Bruce Thorson, associate professor at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He previously spent 25 years in newspaper photojournalism. As a young man, he sustained permanent physical injuries in a motorcycle accident.
  • Linda Tirado, a freelance photojournalist who also is a book author and has written for The Guardian and The Daily Beast. She was shot in the face last year while covering the civil unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd, leaving her partially blind.

Journalist Works to Improve Coverage, Accessibility of News for the Public

By Rachel Konieczny

National Center on Disability and Journalism

Hannah Wise is on a mission to improve the coverage of disability in the U.S. and make sure news is accessible to the more than 6 million Americans who live with a disability.

Wise is one of eight Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute fellowship recipients for the 2021-22 academic year. Formerly a social strategy editor at The New York Times, Wise brings to the project years of experience building relationships between journalists and the communities they cover at the Times and the Dallas Morning News.

For her fellowship at the University of Missouri, she is creating a toolkit to help newsrooms understand how to better cover disability and how to make news products more accessible.

“Every beat is a disability beat, and not just around disability awareness,” Wise said. “It is our job as journalists to speak with accuracy and avoid euphemism, and I think that there’s a big opportunity across the industry for us to raise the bar.”

Part of her project entails creating a form for news organizations to use to find out what questions readers have about disability and what local and national coverage they would like to see.

“We want to make sure that we are providing the information that people want and need,” she said. “The best way to do that is to ask them: What do you want and need?”

In addition to helping news organizations improve their coverage of disability, she hopes to help them learn and use accessibility technology, such as alt text, captions and screen readers.

Wise said part of the challenge is that people are uncomfortable dealing with disability, and journalists are no exception. “Unless you have a disability or someone in your sphere has one, then people are just kind of like, ‘I don’t want to offend anyone’,” she said.

She said the current pandemic makes it more important than ever for journalists to include perspectives from the disability community in their stories.

“I view my job as a journalist to help my community and my readers live smarter, healthier, happier, and more equitable lives,” she said. “At the core, our job is to provide information that people can then take and digest and then inform whatever decision they are going to make.”

As part of her project, Wise, who identifies as a disabled journalist, also created a newsletter, “Disability Matters.” To sign up, go to https://gmail.us6.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=38c612681d8b3e13200731c90&id=137008ef16.