Disability Center comes to Cronkite School

October 5, 2009

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is the new home for the National Center on Disability & Journalism.

The NCDJ provides resources, including a style guide and reporter tip sheet and source list, for journalists covering people with disabilities. The center’s Web site, hosted at the Cronkite School, also provides a forum for journalists and people with disabilities to share and comment on news coverage. Download Full Image

The center was launched in 1998 in San Francisco as the Disability Media Project to raise awareness of how the news media cover people with disabilities. In 2000, the center’s name was changed to the National Center on Disability & Journalism, and it operated for a time out of Boston. In 2008, the center’s board decided to seek an affiliation with a university journalism program. The center has an office in the new Cronkite building in downtown Phoenix and is staffed by Cronkite graduate student Jake Geller, who himself has a disability. Cronkite Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger oversees the center.

Gilger says the news media have lagged behind in coverage of disabilities. At least 19 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of disability, defined by the American with Disabilities Act as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities.”

“The mainstream press frequently under-covers this segment of the population or the coverage is inaccurate or incomplete,” Gilger says. “We hope to help reporters do a better job, not because we advocate a particular point of view but because we are concerned about the journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness and diversity in news coverage.”

For example, the center offers advice to reporters on how to approach an interview with a person who has a disability and suggests when it’s appropriate to use the terms “handicapped” or “disabled.”

Geller, who also is the lead writer for an NCDJ blog on disability issues, said he hopes the center will become “the starting point for journalists working on stories about people with disabilities and a place where journalists will share what they do and how they can improve their storytelling abilities.”

A national advisory board of journalists and disability experts help lead the center. The newly named board members are:

• Jennifer LaFleur, director of computer-assisted reporting for ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization that produces journalism in the public interest;

• Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism at the Cronkite School and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter;

• Suzanne Robitaille, founder and editor-in-chief of http://abledbody.com/" target="_blank" title="blocked::Abledbody.com">http://abledbody.com/">Abledbody.com, a consumer Web site that covers disability news and assistive technology;

• Nan Connolly, former business editor with Knight Ridder who teaches news reporting at the Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida;

• Beth Haller, professor of journalism/new media at Towson University in Maryland and former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal “Disability Studies;”

• Greg Smith, book author and host and producer of the nationally syndicated radio program “On A Roll – Talk Radio on Life & Disability.”

LaFleur who has written extensively about disabilities, said she’s excited to see the NCDJ up and running. “I’m honored to be a part of it,” she says. “My hope is that the NCDJ will be a resource for reporters in covering the real issues that affect people with disabilities.”

For more information, visit www.ncdj.org.">http://www.ncdj.org/">www.ncdj.org.

Kader to speak on international panel

October 6, 2009

David">http://www.law.asu.edu/Apps/Faculty/Faculty.aspx?individual_id=128">David Kader, Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, will speak on the Kosovo constitution as part of a panel on "Eastern Europe in Transition: Secularization and Resacralization in Postsocialist Eastern Europe."

The panel, which celebrates two important decennial anniversaries for Eastern Europe and Eurasia (1939 and 1989), is part of a series of events to mark the launch of the new ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and is co-sponsored by the Melikian Center, a comprehensive research and training center with both instructional and research missions. Download Full Image

Kader, who is also a Faculty Affiliate in the Center for the Study of Religion & Conflict, the Center for the Study of Medieval & Renaissance Studies, and the Jewish Studies Program, teaches in the areas of criminal procedure, torts, state constitutional law and religion and the Constitution.

The panel, which is part of a series of events, "1939-1989-2009: A Seventy Year Retrospective on Eastern Europe," will be held at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 17, at Coor Hall, room 4003.

The panel will be chaired by Joel Gereboff, Religious Studies Faculty Chair for the new ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and includes Stephen Batalden, Professor of History and Director of The Melikian Center; Eugene Clay, Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Laurie Manchester, Associate Professor of History; and Zilka Spahiç-Šiljak, Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies, University of Sarajavo.

Other events in the series include:

"War and Revolution: Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of the 1939 Soviet-Nazi Pact and the Beginning of World War II"
Mark von Hagen, Director
ASU School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Time to be determined, Oct. 15
Coor Hall, room 4403

"Marking the 20th Anniversary Date of the Fall of the Berlin Wall"
Panel: Volker Benkert, Senior Lecturer, History
         Josef Brada, Professor, W.P. Carey School of Business
         Ileana Orlich, Associate Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures
         Danko Sipka, Professor, School of International Letters and Cultures
Chair: Mark Von Hagen, Director, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
1:30 p.m., Nov. 9
Coor Hall, room 4403

Judy Nichols, mailto:Judith.Nichols@asu.edu"> color="#0000ff">Judith.Nichols@asu.edu
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law