Accurate, comprehensive coverage of disability issues and increasing the participation of disabled people in the production of news and information can help alleviate stigma and discrimination, as well as lead to better government policy.
Providing disabled people with trusted information in accessible formats gives them the tools to advocate for increased participation in employment and education; and can highlight issues such as domestic abuse and institutionalization. In building the capacity of individual reporters (including those with disabilities), media outlets and journalism networks to cover the perspectives and voices of persons with disabilities, our goal is to inform the public and policy-makers, promote greater accountability, and ignite conversations that change social norms and attitudes.
- Events & conferences
- Guidance on disability reporting & terminology
- Guidance on accessible media production
- Organizations for disabled journalists
- Writings on disability and media by Patricia Chadwick
- Disability & Media in the News
- People to follow
- Disabled People’s Organizations
- Fact Sheets
Events & Conferences
- Disability & Journalism Forum: News UK is proud to launch Britain’s first-ever conference aimed at improving representation of disabled staff in newsrooms across the UK. On Wednesday, March 23 journalism diversity experts and leading disabled journalists will come together to discuss a variety of topics.
Guidance on disability reporting & terminology
- Disability Language Style Guide – from the National Center on Disability and Journalism
Style Guide in Spanish | Style Guide in Romanian
- Disability Matters: A toolkit for newsrooms to better serve the disability community, Reynolds Journalism Institute
- Reporting on Disability: Guidelines for the Media, by the International Labour Organization
- Disability-friendly language: human rights imperative or game of linguistic leapfrog? by Shikuku Obosi, UK
- The Routledge Companion to Disability and Media – International in scope and orientation, a comprehensive survey of the intersections between disability studies and media studies
Guidance on accessible media production
- The A11Y Project – a community-driven effort to make digital accessibility easier
- Beginner’s Guide to Captioning – from 3PlayMedia (need to provide your email)
- A Brief Disability Accessibility Guide by Deaf/Blind lawyer Haben Girma
- MediaDiversity Institute – works internationally to promote media and information literacy, combat disinformation and facilitate responsible coverage of diversity issues in local and international media.
- Accessible Social Media Guide – from Sense Blog
- Alt Text – provides additional information about images
Organizations for disabled journalists
- Blind Professional Journalists List (through the National Federation of the Blind)
- National Center on Disability and Journalism (US – Arizona State University)
- Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment – GADIM was created to encourage actions to increase and improve representation of persons with disabilities in the media.
Disability & media in the news
- This outlet in Indonesia reports for deaf and hard of hearing audiences, International Journalists Network, by Ainur Rohman, April 4, 2022
- Review of Disability Studies – Special Issue: Disability and Film and Media, Vol. 17 No. 4 (2022)
- Stuttering in the Newsroom with Pro Publica’s Mariam Elba, Proud Stutter, February 11, 2022
- Three disability questions every editor should ask, by Hannah Wise, Reynolds Journalism Institute, December 20, 2021: Accessible editing practices elevate disabled voices, eliminates ableism and makes journalism more accurate
- Death by a Thousand Words: COVID-19 and the Pandemic of Ableist Media, by Imani Barbarin, Refinery 29, August 30, 2021
- Disability Representation in the Media, World Institute on Disability – What’s Up WID podcast, August 13, 2021
- True Newsroom Diversity Must Account for Disability Status, Too, by Sara Luterman, Nieman Reports, February 2021: Disabled people make up 20% of the U.S. population but take up little space on mastheads and in coverage. Why?
- Why intersectional reporting can’t ignore people of color with disabilities, opinion by Sarah Kim, NBCU Academy, June 20, 2021: There isn’t only a “race issue,” “disability issue” or “LGBTQ+ issue.” All types of discrimination are influenced by one another, and journalists need to treat them as such.
- Journalism is ableist, down to its language, by Jen Ramos, The Objective, June 17, 2021: The AP’s new guidance on covering disabilities is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t provide a nuanced, thoughtful understanding of the experiences of disabled people.
- Fighting Ableism Is About Much More Than Attitudes And Awareness, by Andrew Pulrang, Forbes Magazine, June 14, 2021
- An avenue to other worlds: Auditorial, a new idea for accessible storytelling, The Guardian, May 20, 2021: The Guardian has launched an experimental feature format on World Accessibility Awareness Day, in partnership with Google and the Royal National Institute of Blind People
- Victim Tropes Still Common in Coverage of Persons with Disabilities, African Women in Media, 2021: “It’s time to ditch the stereotypes and cover persons with disabilities as equal members of society who are more than their disability,” writes Jackie Lidubwi
- True Newsroom Diversity Must Account for Disability Status, Too, Nieman Reports, February 17, 2021
- Pandemic opened newsrooms to journalists with disabilities, journalism.co.uk, April 8, 2021
In lockdown, working from home became accepted and an access barrier has been (finally) lifted
- How the media can help protect people with albinism. A Tanzanian case study, by Jean Burke, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Australian Catholic University
People to follow
- Jackie Njagi Lidubwi: @jackielidubwi on Twitter – Changing the Disability Narrative in Media Across sub-Saharan Africa
- Beth Haller: @Mediadisdat on Twitter | Media dis&dat blog – a database of news and information about people with disabilities, disability issues and media topics
Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs)
When reporting on disability, it is imperative to consult with and interview people with disabilities who are directly affected by the issues you are covering. Here is a partial list of DPOs around the world.
- China: One Plus One Disabled Persons’ Cultural Development Center (北京一加一残障人文化发展中心)
- Russia: Perspektiva
- Somalia: Somali Disability Empowerment Network (SODEN)
- Tanzania: Tanzania Federation of Disabled People’s Organizations (SHIVYAWATA)
- Zimbabwe: Disabled Women Support Organization (DWSO)
- Women Enabled International: works at the intersection of women’s rights and disability rights to advance the rights of women and girls with disabilities around the world.
- International Disability Alliance: an Alliance of 14 global and regional organisations of persons with disabilities who advocate at the United Nations for a more inclusive global environment for everyone.
Information and data to assist on reporting on specific issues:
- Human Rights Watch – reports on disability from around the world
- Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities, Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank
- Refugees with Disabilities, the Women’s Refugee Commission
- Building Capacity for Disability Inclusion in Gender-Based Violence Programming in Humanitarian Settings, the Women’s Refugee Commission
- Sharing and learning on inclusion of aging and disability in the Syrian crisis, UNHCR and partner organizations