2013 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability

A new national journalism awards program recognizes excellence in reporting on disability issues and people with disabilities.

The Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability is the first national journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage. It is administered by the National Center for Disability and Journalism, headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, under a grant from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who also supports the Schneider Family Book Award. That award is administered by the American Library Association and honors the best children’s book each year that captures the disability experience for children and adolescents.

Entries for the new journalism award are being accepted until Aug. 1, 2013. Entries must be published or aired between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013. Entries will be accepted from print publications, radio or television outlets and online-only publications. Please follow these guidelines when entering:

  • Submit a single story or story package. A story package is defined as a main story with sidebars of shorter length or a series of no more than four related stories. Individual broadcast pieces are limited to 10 minutes or less.
  • Include a statement outlining any (a) any obstacles in reporting, (b) lessons learned in doing this report (c) impact of your work d) any corrections or challenges to accuracy following publication.
  • Include a completed entry form. DOC or PDF.
  • Entries may be mailed or submitted electronically. If submitting electronically, the letter may be submitted as a Word document (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat PDF (.pdf) with a link to the story or story package. If submitting via mail, provide hard copies of the letter as well as a tear-sheet or PDF of the published work or a DVD or CD of the broadcast work.

The judges will consider how well submissions:

  • Explore and illuminate key legal or judicial issues regarding the treatment of people with disabilities;
  • Explore and illuminate government policies and practices regarding disabilities;
  • Explore and illuminate practices of private companies and organizations regarding disabilities;
  • Go beyond the ordinary in conveying the challenges experienced by people living with disabilities and strategies for meeting these challenges;
  • Offer balanced accounts of key points of controversy in the field and provide useful information to the general public;
  • Special consideration will be given to entries that are accessible to those with disabilities. For example, broadcast pieces that are available in transcript form and text stories that are accessible to screen readers. All entries will be published on the NCDJ website in accessible formats.

Entries may be emailed to kristin.gilger@asu.edu or mailed to:

Kristin Gilger
Associate Dean
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University
555 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Schneider, who has been blind since birth, 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.

Kristin Gilger, Cronkite associate dean and administrator of NCDJ, said an estimated 54 million people – about 19 percent of the population – live with disabilities of some kind. But while there are journalism awards on virtually every other important societal topic, including religion, poverty, injustice, minorities, women and children, government, politics and health care, there is no comparable award recognizing work on the topic of disabilities.

“We hope to call attention to the really good work that is being done in this area and to encourage more of it,” Gilger said.

The NCDJ, which has been housed at the Cronkite School since 2008, offers resources and materials for journalists covering disability issues and topics. For more information, visit our About page.