This page offers resources for choosing the right words when writing about disability. Click on the title of the resource to access.
Choosing the Right Words
A primer developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism on a journalist’s responsibility to use relevant disability terms at are accurate, objective and fair. Find the powerpoint here.
Listen to the author of the NCDJ’s Disability Language Style Guide, Amy Silverman, speak about choosing the right words. Click here for the link.
A checklist developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism with important questions for journalists to ask themselves as they write and report a story about disability. Find the checklist here.
Disability Language Style Guide
This style guide, developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism, is intended to help reporters understand changing disability terms. It covers almost 200 words and terms commonly used when referring to disability, most of which are not covered in The Associated Press style guide. Find the style guide here.
This style guide from Team Trust Productions covers everything from key disability terms to suggestions on how to interact with and portray people with disabilities in the media. Resources from other disability-related organizations, a list of disability-related holidays and examples of key dates in disability history also are included. Find the style guide here.
The Diversity Style Guide
The Diversity Style Guide contains more than 700 terms related to race/ethnicity, disability, immigration, sexuality and gender identity, drugs and alcohol, and geography. A project of the
Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University, this guide brings together definitions and information from more than two dozen style guides, including our very own disability language style guide. Find the style guide here.
Writing well about disability
This primer from website The Open Notebook outlines the common pitfalls journalists fall into when writing about disability and how to avoid them by finding a newsworthy story. Find the primer here.
How journalists can better cover disability
A Columbia Journalism Review article by Wendy Lu offers more advice on how journalists can — and should — avoid so-called “inspiration porn.” Find the article here.
From Fear to Storytelling: Covering Disability from Outside Your Comfort Zone
An updated version of a Poynter article by Susan LoTempio shares tips and suggestions on how reporters can tell better disability stories. Find the article here.
Writing better stories about students with disabilities
NCDJ advisory board member, Amy Silverman shares her insight and tips to help journalists avoid “inspiration porn” and give the people you’re writing about a voice. Find the article here
Watch a PowerPoint and listen to Susan LoTempio, NCDJ Board Member and Amanda Kraus, Disability Resources and ADA/504 Compliance Officer share their insight into “Improving Media Coverage of the Disability Community.” Find the video with captions here.
Read a paper by Tory L. Lucas on how to correct a view of people with disabilities, redirecting the focus from disability to ability. Find the paper here.