2015 NCDJ Contest Archive

The following entries for the 2015 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.


Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will
ProPublica, June 19, 2014
Heather Vogell
Read online.

OverviewIn an investigation by ProPublica, Heather Vogell uncovered the shocking ways children with intellectual disabilities are physically disciplined in schools across the country. 

Saving Evan
Hartford Courant, Jan. 4, 2015
Josh Kovner
Read online.

Overview: This article tells the story of a mother and son navigating the challenges of treating autism. It chronicles how one mother handled many of the bureaucratic hurdles parents face in raising a child with autism. 

Why Some NC Sterilization Victims Won’t Get Share Of $10 Million Fund
WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, Oct. 6, 2014
Eric Mennel
Listen and read online.

OverviewEric Mennel exposes the issues victims of a state-sponsored sterilization program in North Carolina face in seeking compensation from the state after lawmakers set up a $10 million compensation fund. 


Presented in alphabetical order by title of entry

Accessibility in Greektown
The Maneater, April 1, 2015
Alana Saad
Read online.

OverviewAn in-depth look at accessibility in the Greektown area at the University of Missouri, where many sororities and fraternities are housed. In this article, students with disabilities discuss basic accessibility issues they say the community is not fixing.  

Criminalizing Kids: Virginia tops nation in sending students to cops, courts
The Center for Public Integrity, September 11, 2015
Susan Ferriss
Read online.

Overview: About 26 percent of students nationwide who are referred to law enforcement have a physical or learning disability, according to Susan Ferriss’s story for The Center for Public Integrity. Ferriss follows sixth grader Kayleb Moon-Robinson, a young boy with autism, after he was charged with disorderly conduct.

Elder Guardianship: A well-oiled machine
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Dec. 2014
Barbara Peters Smith
Read online.

OverviewThis story delves into the tangled web of elder guardianship in Florida, where some people are said to get lost in the system. 

Left Behind
NBC4 Washington, 2015
Tisha Thompson
Watch online.

OverviewReporter Tisha Thompson talks to D.C. commuters with disabilities and advocates who worry the METRO train system is not accessible in the case of an emergency evacuation. 

Level 14: A Home for California’s Most Troubled Children Comes Undone
Joaquin Sapien
Access entire series online.

OverviewIn this series, ProPublica exposes the issues at a group home in California where reports of rape, fights, and drug abuse invaded a place meant to be a safety net for children, many of whom were diagnosed with a mental illness.

On education technology, college lobbyists are keeping disabled students behind
The Boston Globe, September 5, 2014
Kyle Shachmut
Read online.

OverviewIn an op-ed piece, Kyle Shachmut argues for more accessibility in technology for student with disabilities. 

Sex, Lives and Disability
Mosaic Science, March, 3, 2015
Katherine Quarmby
Read online.

OverviewKatherine Quarmby explores societal beliefs about those with disabilities and sex, and how people are facing that stigma head-on. 

The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill
Mother Jones, February 26, 2015
Brian Joseph
Read online.

Overview: Reporting for Mother Jones, Brian Joseph explores privatized foster care through the tragic story of Alexandria Hill, a 2-year-old foster child from Texas. 

Wheeling and Dealing: How Do People with Disabilities Experience Madison?”
Madison Magazine, April 2015
Maggie Ginsberg
Read online.

OverviewMaggie Ginsberg looks at the city of Madison, Wisconsin through the eyes of someone who uses a wheelchair. 

When disability and race intersect
CNN, December 4, 2014
David Perry
Read online.

Overview: In this story, David Perry examines a pattern of violence against people with disabilities and the underlying social issues, as in the case of Eric Garner in New York.