2014 NCDJ Contest Archive

The following entries for the 2014 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability were singled out by judges for the quality of reporting on disability issues. The award winners are listed at the top, followed by other exemplary work.


The ‘Boys’ in the Bunkhouse
The New York Times, March 9, 2014
Dan Barry
Read online.

OverviewThrough text, photos and video, Dan Barry, Kassie Bracken and Nicole Bengiveno documented the lives of men with intellectual disabilities who for 30 years worked in an Iowa turkey processing plant for almost no pay. The story raised questions about the federal law that permitted the men to be underpaid for doing the same work as their non-disabled colleagues, explained how regulators effectively sanctioned the exploitation and detailed the squalid living conditions and mistreatment the men endured.

State of Intoxication – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Anchorage Daily News, Feb.-May 2014
Kyle Hopkins and Mark Lester
Read online.

Overview: This series won second place for painting an intimate portrait of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. As common as autism, the disability is widely misunderstood and underdiagnosed in the U.S.

Denise’s Decision
Kansas City Star, 2013
Erick Adler
Read online.

OverviewIn this wrenching four part series, reporter Eric Adler chronicles the legal, medical and emotional ordeal of placing a loved one with degenerative brain disease in long-term care.

DHN – Deaf and Hearing NetworkPhoenix, Arizona
Peyton Gallovich and Melissa Yingst Huber
Read online.

OverviewArizona State University students Peyton Gallovich and Melissa Yingst Huber were recognized for their start-up venture DHN, a newscast designed to give deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers as well as their hearing family members the opportunity to view newscasts together. DHN incorporates American Sign Language, spoken English and captions into each broadcast.


Presented in alphabetical order by title of entry

A Coming Tidal Wave of Autistic Adults
America Tonight, March 4, 2013
Abigail Leonard
Read online.

OverviewFrom America Tonight, part of Al Jazeera America, this segment focuses on what systems are in place to help the nearly 500,000 children with autism transition into adulthood over the next decade.

Series: Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors
The Washington Post, Sept. 2013–June 2014
Lenny Bernstein
Read online:For some Boston Marathon bombing victims, charity checks bring frustration, Sept. 15, 2013
Brain-injured woman and others seek more money, Oct. 2, 2013
Amputees are continuing to improve, March 18 2014
Boston Marathon bombing victims to get $20 million more, June 27, 2014

OverviewThis series follows several survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings nearly a year after the terrorist attacks killed three people and injured more than 250 others. Despite payouts from One Fund Boston, many victims still face a long, hard road to recovery.

The Boy Public School Forgot”
Huffington Post, Nov. 24, 2013
Joy Resmovits
Read online.

OverviewThrough one Washington D.C.-area family’s quest to obtain quality education for their autistic son, this article exposes the routine failures of America’s public education system to give specialized care to children with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

Chronic Crisis
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2014
Meg Kissinger
Read online.

OverviewIn Wisconsin, Milwaukee County’s mental health system focuses more on emergency treatment than continual, reliable care, more so than anywhere else in the nation. Through patient stories and exclusive data reporting, this online series exposes a broken health care system.

How an Organ Transplant Changed my Life
Cincinnati Inquirer, June 16, 2014
John Faherty
Read online.

OverviewIn this long-form narrative, Cincinnati Inquirer reporter John Faherty reflects on receiving a pancreas transplant, beginning with his decision to seek a transplant to grappling with symptoms of anti-rejection medication.

Medicaid Managed Care series
Kaiser Health News in collaboration with The Washington Post, July – Dec. 2013
Jenni Bergal
Read online:
Kentucky’s rush in Medicaid Managed Care: A cautionary tale for other states, July 15, 2013
In Kansas, a fight over developmentally disabled shifting to Medicaid Managed Care, Dec. 5, 2013

OverviewThis report documents the consequences of a decision in the state of Kentucky to rapidly switch large numbers of people in Medicaid to managed care. A second report focuses on concerns in Kansas about what will happen when the state’s Medicaid managed system takes over services for thousands of developmentally disabled patients.

The New Segregation: School Choice in Arizona Takes on a Different Meaning If Your Kid Has a Disability
Phoenix New Times, May 14, 2014
Amy Silverman
Read online.

OverviewPhoenix New Times Reporter Amy Silverman recounts her experience of being “pushed out” of Arizona’s diverse charter school system while trying to find the right school for her young daughter with Down syndrome.

The War Next Door: Can a Vet with PTSD Come Home?
The Virginian-Pilot, Dec. 2013
Mike Hixenbaugh
Read online.

OverviewThis intimate look inside the life of a former solider with post-traumatic stress disorder examines the uncomfortable questions a close-knit community must grapple with when a neighbor who defended their freedom slowly loses his mind.

PA Couple Lives with Love and Disability”
Public Source, Jan. 26, 2014
Halle Stockton
Read online.

OverviewBob and Tina Norris, who both have cerebral palsy, have been married more than 22 years. Their marriage stands out not just because they have stayed together for so long but because federal and state assistance programs effectively discourage people with disabilities from marrying.

How Misunderstanding Disability Leads to Police Violence”
The Atlantic, May 6, 2014
David Perry and Lawrence Carter-Long
Read online.

Overview: This piece explores the many instances when encounters with police have turned violent for people with disabilities over the past several years. Despite greater civil rights for Americans with disabilities, lingering misunderstandings and stereotypes and a lack of education can still trigger tragic endings.