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ASU journalism campaign commemorates 30th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

The campaign encourages news coverage of people with disabilities in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

May 28, 2020

The National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University has launched a campaign to encourage news coverage of people with disabilities in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The campaign consists of 30 story suggestions for journalists to consider that call attention to the changes brought about by passage of the ADA and the challenges that remain. The story ideas range from how disability communities are affected by COVID-19 to how changes in technology have transformed the lives of many living with disabilities.

A story suggestion is being released on Twitter (#NCDJ30for30) and Facebook (@ASUNCDJ) every other day through July 26, the anniversary of the ADA. They also will be archived on the NCDJ website.

“We’re hoping this campaign sparks more coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues,” said NCDJ Executive Director Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean at the Cronkite School. “People with disabilities make up nearly 20% of the U.S. population, yet their stories are often overlooked. The 30th anniversary of the ADA is the perfect time to rebalance that equation.”

The ideas were drawn from studies and published articles as well as suggestions from members of the NCDJ advisory board, which consists of journalists, scholars and members of the disability community. Cronkite graduate student Molly Duerig compiled the information and created the campaign.

The landmark civil rights legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services. It defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities.”

President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990. It was amended and updated in 2008.

The NCDJ has been part of the Cronkite School since 2008. The organization provides support and guidance for journalists as they cover disabilities through the publication of a popular disability language style guide, lists of resources and experts and training materials. It also manages a journalism contest that recognizes the best disability reporting in the country each year.

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