The First National Journalism Contest Devoted Exclusively to Disability Coverage

a microphoneWhile at the Seeing Eye training with my new dog, a woman in a dorm room across the hall introduced herself to me as Katherine Schneider. The name sounded familiar. Guess what? She’s the very Katherine Schneider who funds the Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. Here from the American Media Institute web site:

The Schneider Award is the first national journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage. It is administered by 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.

Pretty cool, eh? Katherine was born blind, and at dinner last night she told me the winners of the Schneider Family Children’s Book Award will be announced in a few weeks. I’ll publish a post announcing those winners when that announcement is made.

Winners of the Katherine Schneider Journalism Award have already been announced, and Katherine told me the work for the committee choosing those award winners gets harder every year. “This year they reviewed over a hundred pieces of journalism from all over the world,” she said. Judges for the journalism award make their decisions by considering 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 is 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.)

For 2019, first place in the large media market category was awarded to Right to Fail, Living Apart, Coming Undone an in-depth investigation by ProPublica and PBS Frontline in collaboration with The New York Times. First place in the small media market category was awarded to You’re Not Alone, a collaborative documentary between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee PBS that followed the lives of four young people from Wisconsin as they navigated mental health challenges — the final product included a suicide prevention toolkit at Second and third-place awards went to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, Radiolab, The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina,
and Searchlight New Mexico. Judges also awarded honorable mentions to The Arizona Republic as well as the Texas Tribune.

Visit Katherine Schneider’s blog, Kathie Comments, to learn more about Dr. Schneider, the Schneider award for journalism, and the Schneider Award for children’s books. What can I say? I always meet amazing people during my stays at The Seeing Eye, and getting to know Katherine has been a real privilege. I’d say more, but it’s time to head outside with our new dogs. Today’s a solo route!


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